Look Up

Happy ALOHA Friday,

Sometimes when things feel hectic, wild, and crazy, you just gotta step outside and look up. It can be that simple, where fresh air and palm trees is all you need.

Take a mindful moment.

Leave the stresses, give your mind and body a true break. And then go back as you were with a refreshed perspective. One that is less inclined to have a knee jerk reaction. Where you will also be more thoughtful in your work and interactions.

Physically, your breath rate will decrease and it might even feel like you've removed a weighted vest. Cognitively, your thinking will be clearer. Emotionally, your mood will be lifted. Spirits? Well, those will feel restored. And how about that once impossible to solve problem? It will now feel possible.

Who should practice mindfulness?

We all benefit from mindfulness. It’s no longer just for the yogis, this is for corporate executives, bankers, athletes, store clerks, scientists, surgeons, your mother, your brother, this is human work.

When we approach our lives holistically from an open mind perspective, the world truly shifts around us. No matter one’s background, we are drawn to grounded individuals. And we are grounded when we are mindful.

I’ve experienced firsthand the personal growth that follows this adoption of a mindfulness practice. My introduction to this way of conscious living was in an academic course at Skidmore College. We practiced yoga, mindful eating, walking meditations, and so on. In any case, it was my very first introduction to the practice of being intentional in the way I live.

What followed was years of working in the hospital and academic research world, many years of yoga practice and teaching, and more schooling than any one person should ever go through. I’ve learned a lot about the body and brain, and the way they work together.

And as complex as my research work can be, one simple truth is that we can all implement effective mindfulness practices, right now.

1. Step outside, look up.
2. Hold that image in your mind.
3. Take several deep breaths.

Taken together, the sunlight or starlit sky, the breaths, the fresh air, the pause in your routine, will calm down your nervous system, your mind and body. Even if you can’t pause and step outside, hold an image in your mind. Make the vision as complete as you can, imagining all the sensations of the moment. Breathe into it.

In a time where we are all cooped up inside, this simple break is even more impactful. I love the work of my friends at Yoga Ed., who bring these practices to life in an accessible way for children.

I shudder to think about the unknown impacts from shelter in place orders and virtual classrooms. I know we are all doing our best, but let’s be better. Implement a mindful moment in your day.

The fall semester begins next Monday, I am teaching academic courses and I will definitely be implementing some mindfulness practices in teaching.

Personally, I crave those mindful moments. My husband is always joking with me about how I enjoy silence. Don't get me wrong, I love music, but I need pockets of silence in my day too.

Chaos breeds opportunity. Cheers to the year 2020, and the growth mindset mentality.

Deep breaths,

LM

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