MINDFULNESS: An Intro Series Part 6 - Formal Practices
SIX: FORMAL PRACTICES
Now it is time to try seven formal mindfulness practices; one day each. Many of these are practices commonly used in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programme and the Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy programme. They all draw on the skills you have been practicing; mindful breathing, noticing and naming. They are called formal simply because it’s about taking specific time out to do them. Let's begin.
5 5 5
555 is a very simple and quick mindfulness practice. It helps us to notice our surroundings and become more connected to the present moment. Here is a three minute 555 practice. Please try it out twice today before trying the Body Scan tomorrow.
THE BODY SCAN
The body scan is an excellent practice for getting in touch with our body, and for training our attention. Here is a 10 minute body scan practice. Try this twice today before moving on to Mindfulness of Body and Breathing tomorrow.
MINDFULNESS OF BODY AND BREATHING
Here is a mindfulness of body and breathing practice. Try this out twice today, then go on to the three minute breathing space. This practice combines breathing with a wider awareness of our body. Again it is about breathing, and noticing sensations.
3 MINUTE BREATHING SPACE
The three minute breathing space is a short practice focused on our breathing and body. Obviously, because it’s only three minutes, it can come in very handy if you don’t have a lot of time. Here is a practice to try twice before moving on to the Counting Breath 1–10.
COUNTING BREATH 1–10
In another practice focused on the breathing, here we are going to pay more attention to paying attention. We count on each out breath trying to maintain our attention on breathing and counting until we get to ten. If and when our mind wanders, just start at one again.
Practice this twice today before moving on to Mindful Walking tomorrow.
This is a simple practice. It can be really good for those of us who struggle to sit still. It can also help the transition to sitting mindfulness practices after a busy day. All we do is walk slowly, paying attention to our feet, legs, body and breath as we move. Use this recording to try out Mindful Walking twice today, before moving on to Mindful Eating tomorrow.
When you eat, do you pay attention to every sensation during each mouthful? No? Most people don’t, and that is why we practice mindful eating. We can do mindful eating any time we have a meal. It might be hard at a big dinner with family or friends, but next time you are eating alone or having a small snack, or even a glass of water, and the time is right for your formal practice, try this. Try out Mindful Eating twice today before moving on to the Informal Practices tomorrow.
If you have done all seven practices well done. Developing mindfulness takes doing it, and you have done it. Now that you have done it, choose one or two and commit to doing a practice every day for the next few weeks. In the final part of our introduction to mindfulness we will talk about and try informal mindfulness; how we can take all these ideas and behaviours into our every day life.