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Art of Mindfulness

Getting started with mindfulness and letting go of your depression

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Recognizing that you can train your mind to calm down begins the process of overcoming your depressed state of mind. In order to gain wisdom in overcoming your sadness or depression it is important to recognize how valuable your life is! Every human life is a gift and recognizing this begins a valuable process to gaining peace of mind and ultimately happiness!

Depression can be worked on in mindfulness meditation. Learning to become mindful is a big step. Mindfulness gives you better perspective of what is happening in the present moment. You want to begin your process of understanding by noticing what triggers your sadness and/or depression? This includes looking back over what might have been the cause and condition. By understanding the ongoing cause, you will be able to remove the cause. Frustration, dissatisfaction and fear can be a cause and they can keep the mind depressed and searching endlessly.

Practicing mindfulness allows you to recognize the moment your sadness or depression starts to arise. The moment you ‘catch yourself in the act’ of sadness, start to train your mind to let this sad thought go. Learn to breathe through your sadness or negative thought. Breathing consciously with the whole body focused on the ongoing rhythm of breath in and out, will calm the body and in turn will calm the mind. The more attention given to your breathing, the less attention is available to fuel your sadness or depression.

This sounds good in theory but how can this practice really change your depression? Slowly the wisdom of calming your mind guides you and you start to see how your mind can change from a depressed state to a calm state. You start to see how identifying your harmful patterns of thought, training your mind to calm down, will bring a positive state of mind.

Next week – The wisdom of mindfulness and Depression

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Art of Mindfulness

YOGA AND GOOD HEALTH

Pauline Sebina

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We’re still on the mental benefits of meditation, this time looking at will power. Will power is that ability to do something that you know is good for you, which you may not necessarily enjoy doing but you do it out of necessity, out of need.

Examples here would range from regular exercises, eating the right type of food which may not necessarily be yummy, burning the midnight oil to study, ability to quit smoking or alcohol, etc. The biggest test is how to stay on course, maintaining the necessary momentum, knowing there’s a greater gain in the end.

Fortunately, will power can be strengthened, with determination and regular practice of meditation. Meditation gives you the ability to control your thoughts and attention, thereby guiding your actions to dwell on what you deem as priority.

We have countless examples of people who are not able to stop themselves from eating yummy food that causes them to be sick; of people who are not able to bring themselves to exercise though their doctors have recommended it for their well-being; of students or even just adults who’s confidence level is crushed and do not wish to continue with their studies or with life; of people who are battling addictions or facing life threatening health or societal conditions.

As you read this article, do share with your loved ones that there’s a remedy in meditation….. It’s best to do guided meditations with a trained practitioner for best results. Art of Living Botswana amongst others, offers such guided meditation.

The beauty about meditation, just like breathing exercises and yoga stretches is that it’s all scientific. Whilst I have preferred not to get into technical or scientific evidence and data, a lot of research has been done on these practices which have given authentic results.

If at all you’re unsure, or you do fall under any of the categories listed above, you can read more on the subject because it’s very vast. But ultimately, like I always say, the proof is in the eating. Aim to experience all these benefits in any of the Art of Living monthly programs.

In our national agenda to raise an energetic, creative, purposeful, youth, let’s expose them to meditation. It will give them inner strength and will power to overcome any negative forces that distract them from their prosperity.

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Art of Mindfulness

Yoga and good health

Pauline Sebina

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As we continue this important topic of yoga and good health, lets raise our awareness more to the subtle nature of prana, the subtle life force inside us.

Whilst we are used to breath in and out through the nose or mouth, the flow of prana is more subtle and deeper. Pranayama, which as said before, is the technique of channeling the prana to be more beneficial to us, and should be taught by a qualified teacher or instructor. The Art of Living programs e.g. the Happiness Course, the Sri Sri Yoga course teach the different pranayamas.

The benefits of pranayama to good health is that it clears the very subtle blocks in our system that may negatively affect our health condition. The benefits can be experienced in among others, the treatment of stress related conditions; relieving the symptoms of respiratory disorders; enriching blood and our organs with oxygen; positively affecting our thoughts and steadying the mind; significantly improving the sleeping patterns; etcetera. Learning pranayama is a big step towards self-healing.

With all the knowledge that we are exposed to, sometimes it is not easy to internalize this knowledge and “live it”. Consequently we are forever decrying deteriorating health or moral fibre, and lack of societal harmony. Yoga addresses the individual at a very personal, wholistic and practical level.

It brings one to a realization that we are responsible for our own health, and not our boss at work, not the medical system nor somebody else. It is the most natural way to healing, among other things. This realization leads one to the fact that even your happiness relies only on you, and to not give other people permission to control or determine your happiness.

These benefits however only come from regular (as in daily) practice of pranayama. It therefore requires commitment and self-discipline because it is a lifestyle or a way of life. Otherwise the knowledge you have about how good your life can be remains a concept, and not a reality. Unless you “live” the knowledge, it is futile and really has no use.

Closely coupled with pranayama towards good health is asana (physical stretches or postures) the third limb of yoga, and finally the different levels of meditation. When we practice the asanas, we also use deep breathing to steady the posture as you hold it.
More next week ……

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