Mindfulness of Breath Class Follow-Up
In this weekly follow-up, I’m offering many ways for you to work with the content that was presented in class. Please don’t feel pressured to do it all. Do what feels right to you. Trying to meditate daily might be enough! Some days, having the intention is even enough. But if you want more, I’m offering options to take it deeper.
In this class, I introduced mindfulness as the awareness that arises by paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. We practiced mindfulness of breath. Other highlights from today’s class include:
- The importance of intention in sustaining your practice
- Awareness and compassion as the two wings of mindfulness
- Science-backed benefits of mindfulness meditation
- Your mind will wander, and this is normal!
- Every time you bring your mind back to the present moment is a moment of mindfulness. It’s like doing one rep that strengthens your muscles of awareness.
- If the breath isn’t a good anchor for you, you might try being aware of sounds, your hands or feet, or your heartbeat instead.
- Some recommended meditation apps include: Insight Timer (my favorite, and it’s free!), Calm, Headspace, and My Life.
Here are some short videos for a deeper dive:
How Meditation Changes the Brain (Shauna Shapiro)
- The Science of Positive Brain Change (Rick Hanson)
What is Mindfulness? (Jon Kabat-Zinn)
Understanding Neuroplasticity (Rick Hanson)
This Week’s “Homework”
- Establish a regular time and place to meditate for ten minutes or more each day.
- Experiment with one or more the guided meditations below.
- Record each meditation session in your Mindfulness Meditation Practice Log or journal, if that works for you. Include what you noticed during your sitting, what challenges or insights arose, and what questions you wish to ask during the next class.
Please remember that any meditation is better than none! If you don’t have time to meditate on a given day, you might try:
- Going to sleep listening to a guided meditation
- Taking a few minutes to imagine yourself in the most beautiful, soothing place
- Pausing to take three conscious breaths throughout the day (an app like Mindfulness Bell or MindBell can be helpful)
- Breathing with your sleeping child
- Stepping outside and feeling the sun on your skin, watching or listening to birds, observing a bee pollinating flowers, watching the clouds drift through the sky, gazing at the stars, being mindful of sounds, etc.
- Taking time for gratitude by writing down five things you’re grateful for each day and pausing to savor pleasurable experiences. (Here is a blog post I wrote that might be helpful.)
- Breathing with the Breathe Bubble on Calm.
Questions to Reflect on
- What is your intention for your meditation practice?
- What part(s) of the breath cycle are easiest or most pleasurable for you to include in mindful presence?
Choose whatever meditations resonate most.
Mindfulness of Breath
Susan Meyer (12 min.)
Coming Home with the Breath
by Tara Brach (15 min.)
On Insight Timer
Loving Awareness: Mindfulness of Breath & What Is Present
by Jack Kornfield (12 min.)
Breath And Awareness
by Tara Brach (7 1/2 min.)
by Kristin Neff (20 min.)
by Sharon Salzberg (10 min.)
Here is the “Breathing into the Heart” meditation we did at the beginning of this class:
I’ve recorded and uploaded more guided meditations that can be accessed when you sign up HERE (scroll down to the bottom) for my newsletter mailing list. Please also refer to the Course Introduction page for additional resources to support your meditation practice, including free, live, weekly guided meditations from myself and other meditation teachers.
What kinds of resources would be helpful to you during this course? Please take a moment to fill out this brief survey.
May your practice be fruitful this week! This is important work you are doing. I look forward to seeing you in the next class. Until then, please feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions you may have.
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