August 2014

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AUGUST 2014 | BRAVAMAGAZINE.COM 35 ŷƕƽƭƕƏŧŤźƭőƭŧ SCHEDULE IT. Pick a regular time that works best for you; meditate every day at that time. CREATE A DEDICATED SPACE. Choose a quiet area where you will be undisturbed and not easily distracted. Get comfortable. Try a Zafu (meditation cushion), sit in an upright chair or practice lying down. SIT FOR 20 MINUTES. A 20-minute practice delivers more benefit. If you have only five to 10 minutes available, start there and work your way up. USE AN ANCHOR. Create a focal point for attention, such as observing your breathing (see right). EXPAND YOUR AWARENESS. Notice sensations in your body, both pleasant and unpleasant. Notice your thoughts, observing them from a distance. Become aware of emotions you are experiencing. Then, expand your awareness to the room you're in. BRING YOUR MIND BACK. When your mind wanders gently direct it to the present moment and your anchor. BE COMPASSIONATE WITH WHATEVER ARISES. Offer kindness, compassion and non- judgment to whatever is occurring. It is common to experience universal feelings of "not good enough," "I am a failure," "I'm not doing it right." Practice letting go of these thoughts and return to the focus of your practice. CREATE A MANTRA. Create a word or phrase to help center yourself, such as "let go," "peace begins with me," "as is." Synchronize saying it with your breathing. Use the mantra to center yourself throughout the day. LIVE YOUR PRACTICE. Mindfulness is accessible to us at any time of day. Look for opportunities to practice mindful living by accessing the present moment. JOIN A GROUP. Meditate with guidance, and build a mindfulness community (see right). SEEK ADDITIONAL RESOURCES., the and offer insights and ideas to inspire your practice. –S.M. breathe into it TAPPING INTO THIS KEY TO AWARENESS Get into a comfortable and relaxed position and bring your awareness to your breathing. Begin observing the rise and fall of the breath, the expansion and constriction of the stomach, the sensations of the air entering and leaving your nostrils, and the slight pause between the out-breath and the next in-breath. Following the breath, you may notice how it moves throughout your whole body. When your mind wanders, notice it without judgment and direct your attention back to your breathing. There is no need to try to control or change your breathing in any way. Simply let the breath breathe itself. In this way, you are practicing observing without having to do anything, an attitude you can bring to your thoughts, your feelings and your sensations. –S.M. 56 days IT TAKES ONLY THIS MUCH TIME MEDITATING REGULARLY TO EXPERIENCE GREATER POSITIVE EMOTIONAL STATES, DEEPER ABILITY TO CONCENTRATE AND STRONGER RESILIENCE FOLLOWING A STRESSFUL CHALLENGE. UW Health's Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program. Free informational session Aug. 25. UW Research Park Clinic, 621 Science Dr., Madison. The Psychology Center's six-week mindfulness group. 7617 Mineral Point Rd., Madison. MINDFULNESS & MEDITATION CLASSES For additional local mindfulness, meditation and wellness classes and resources— from breath work to yoga to Buddhist and other spiritual meditation—see p. 57 and visit The UW Department of Psychology's mindfulness training groups. Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute and Clinics, 6001 Research Park Blvd., Madison. Meriter-UnityPoint's mind-body and wellness programs. Various locations.

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