Mindfulness is one of the buzziest words out there right now. But what is it exactly and should you be doing it?
We like to think of mindfulness as exercise for the brain. So we take the same approach to mind practice as we do with body practice - focusing on improving functioning and well-being in everyday life. You probably go to fitness classes like Yoga Tune Up to improve the way you move and feel. Guess what? Your mind is a muscle that can work and feel better, too.
That's why, out of all the countless approaches to mindfulness, we like to focus on Unified Mindfulness. It has the same practical, down-to-earth qualities as our body work practices. A fairly new system, it’s the lifework of Shinzen Young. His goal was to distill the key mental skills that arise in all contemplative practices throughout history and develop a systematic framework to comprehend and develop those skills. He ended up with a brilliantly simple, remarkably practical and completely secular set of practices to increase the attentional skills of concentration, clarity and equanimity. You could think of the bodywork practices we do in the same way; you're developing core skills like flexibility, strength, and body awareness.
So the second part of the question, should you do it? Well, it probably wouldn’t hurt and it almost certainly will help with some aspect of your life. Each of us is different and mindfulness is not the complete answer for everyone, but even just a little bit of time devoted to understanding and improving how your mind works is likely to reap some benefits. Neuroplasticity means that your brain can change and a mindfulness practice can help reduce stress, increase focus and productivity, and build emotional resiliency.
The best news is that this skills-based approach to mindfulness is easily adaptable to everyday life. You don't have to sit still on a cushion to reap the rewards. Please join us for our group meditation pratice on Sundays at 12:15pm (free for all of our students) and try to attend the upcoming 7 week course, a comphrensive overview of the Unified Mindfulness system.
You'll discover that practicing those core attentional skills for even just a few minutes a day can bring a greater depth of contentment, peace and meaning to your everyday life.
Click here for more details and to register.