By Guest Blogger Emily Behr, Owner/Operator of Growga
I am a mother of two. Sometimes, I feel stressed. I deal with anxiety. I get mad at my girls and, sometimes, I yell. And, I am a mindfulness and yoga teacher.
Mindfulness does not make us perfect humans. It does, however, let us see our imperfections with more clarity and less labels. By practicing mindfulness in some capacity, throughout the day, we can let go more, enjoy more, and give ourselves grace.
You have probably heard or read about mindfulness in the news lately and it may seem like just a fad to you. However, mindfulness is an evidence-based practice that has been around for over 3,000 years. There are aspects of mindfulness based on Buddist philosophy, but most, including us at Growga, approach mindfulness from a secular perspective.
Mindfulness does not have to happen separate from our lives. Anyone can be mindful, anywhere. Mindfulness is, as we at Growga define it, simply paying attention on purpose. You can practice mindfulness while walking your dog, reading a book, typing on a keyboard, or eating a slice of pizza. Mindfulness is simply being aware of the moment your in without labels or distractions.
Does it seem too difficult to live mindfully? Here are three tips that you can start right now.
1.Take a mindful bite.
Mindful eating is a simple way to incorporate mindfulness into your day. To practice, begin by looking at your bite. What is the texture? Is it shiny or smooth? What is the color? Are there various textures? Just notice the look of the food you are about to eat. Also, notice what reaction your body and mouth has when you look at the food.
Now, bring the food to your nose and smell it. Notice the smell and give the smell a label. Don’t think too much about it, just notice if it smells savory/sweet/tart/spicy, etc.
Now, bring the food into your mouth and taste it. Don’t chew it yet. Notice the taste on your tongue.
Now, take a bite and chew slowly. See if you can chew it up 15 times before you swallow, noticing where the food goes in your mouth and how it tastes as you chew.
Now, swallow and notice what taste the food left.
2. Notice your feet on the ground.
Wherever you are, feel your feet connected to the ground. How does the ground feel beneath your feet? Notice the support beneath you and press your feet into that support. You are here. You are in this moment.
3. Take a deep breath
Inhale and fill up your belly, not just your chest. (This might take a little practice, so if you can’t quite get it, don’t think too much about it.) Now, hold your breath for 2 counts and then let your breath out slowly. Repeat if you desire.
When you practice even just one of these simple actions, we begin on our journey to live more mindfully. By beginning the journey, we are on a path to a richer, more authentic (albeit a little messy) life!
Growga’s mission is approachable mindfulness. The program, based in central North Carolina, brings fun and engaging mindfulness programming to kids, families, and adults. To find out more about Growga in your community, go to www.MyGrowga.com.
Emily, E-RYT, CYAEP, is the owner and founder of Growga. As a dancer for most of her young life, she was drawn to yoga and the fluidity of movement and breath. After having her first daughter, she saw the need for mindfulness and movement for every age. After teaching yoga for 10 years, Emily created Growga, a program with a new approach to mindfulness. Through accessible and engaging classes taught by experts, every person, regardless of their background or stage of life, can have tools to easily live a more mindful life. Emily is a mother of two girls and lives in Chatham County, NC.
*Sponsored by Growga