Mindfulness has been popular in the US since the 1970’s as a form of mental health therapy (reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression and addiction) and as a form of complementary medicine. There are many types of mindfulness practice, body scanning being one of them.
Mindfulness leads to clear comprehension of our surroundings and all that is happening in the moment. This is an active form of meditation that strengthens the mind through single pointed focus.
Perhaps the most well known interpretation of this contemporary Buddhist technique is Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction codified by Jon Kabat-Zin at University of Massachusetts Medical School.
“According to a 2014 article in Time magazine, mindfulness meditation is becoming popular among people who would not normally consider meditation. The curriculum started by Kabat-Zinn at University of Massachusetts Medical Center has produced nearly 1,000 certified MBSR instructors who are in nearly every state in the US and more than 30 countries. Corporations such as General Mills have made it available to their employees or set aside rooms for meditation. Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan published a book in 2012 titled A Mindful Nation and he has helped organize regular group meditation periods on Capitol Hill.”
MBSR has been scientifically shown through evidence based research to be an effective complement to a wide variety of medical and psychological conditions. Below is a partial listing:
Anxiety, Asthma , Cancer, Chronic Pain, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Gastrointestinal Disorders, Heart Disease, HIV, Hot Flashes, Major Depression, Mood Disorders, Sleep Disturbances, and Stress Disorders
Citations and more info can be found here:
The exercise that we will be practicing was shared with me on a yoga teacher training by a mental health councilor as a tool to relieve anxiety. I have found it to be a wonderful practice to do outdoors and enjoy the sensory nuances of Nature. It works anywhere, however, and can take from 5 to 30 minutes.
Here is the guided script we will be doing on our sunrise practice during our 200 hour yoga teacher training immersion in Costa Rica, Italy and France. You can listen along on our IGTV channel with real sound effects from the jungle!
Focus on 5 things you see, one object at at time. Spend 2 minutes focusing visually on each object. Keeping time can be tricky when you are doing this on your own so don’t be so strict about it. Take 20 breaths per object or move on when you feel ready.
Next, we focus on 4 different sounds that we hear, one object at a time, for a minute each sound. Sounds may come and go, start and stop, but follow them for the entire minute or breath cycle.
And we continue; 3 different things we feel, 2 different things we smell and 1 thing we taste, one object at a time, for a minute each.
When practicing on your own, you can do this anytime and anywhere as tool to settle into the present moment while strengthening the mind. When we are grounded here, we are calm and empowered.
On our 200 hour Costa Rica yoga teacher training immersion we practice this at sunrise on our ocean view yoga deck. It is the best experience and one of the many reasons that Lakshmi Rising offers the best and most authentic YTT / TTC in the world!
About Dr. Liz Lindh:
I am Dr. Liz Lindh, Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, holistic skincare and natural beauty expert, Yoga Teacher and Yoga Teacher Trainer. I am the Director of The Sanctuary at Two Rivers in Costa Rica and Founder of Lakshmi Rising School for Yoga & Wellness.