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"Mindfulness is paying attention, on purpose, non-judgementally, in the present moment “ Jon Kabat Zinn

Recently, we are seeing so much information on mindfulness, the benefits, and how to be more mindful. During our two months in the California, my goal was to consolidate a few simple tools for myself as I wanted to make sure I was practicing being mindful and present to soak in all beauty of the desert and time with my family and friends. I am sharing this blog in hopes others will benefit in their lives as well.

What is being mindful? Being mindful is a way of being present and in the moment. It is learning to cultivate a focused awareness on being present. Mindfulness is not just something we do such as a yoga class or meditation practice (which by the way are AMAZING tools), but something we should practice throughout the day.

How to be more mindful:

Breath work is key. When we bring our attention and awareness to the breath we are experiencing the present moment. You can start by paying attention to the natural rise and fall of your breath. You can also repeat a simple mantra such as inhale and exhale or count the breaths inhaling for 4-3-2-1, pause, then exhaling for 4-3-2-1. The breath is our greatest tool so use it as your anchor. The quickest way to quiet the body is through our breath, and the fastest way to quiet the mind is being completely present. With each inhale and each exhale, you sink more deeply into the present moment and, begin to feel a little more stillness.

As I mentioned, our yoga and meditation practice is a great place to start, but we can also be more mindful in everything we are doing and noticing what is real in the moment. In addition to focusing on the breath we should also bring awareness to the 5 senses. (see, feel, hear, smell and taste). Literally, stop and smell the roses and whenenever you feel as if you've slipped away from the present moment use the senses to reconnect with your immediate surroundings and immerge yourself in them. The good news is that, by simply noticing, you are aware; you are in the present moment.

Most importanly we can practice mindfulness in our routine daily activities such as walking, spending time with our loved ones, cooking or even washing the dishes. As long as we are being completely present with what we are doing.

Pay attention and notice when you are out of your zone. What distracts you? For me, I discovered that technology played a huge role in keeping me distracted. Not being mindful with my time on texting, social media, etc. So, for the last last portion of our trip I decided to change my relationship with technology and reduce my time in front of a screen and enjoyed the space and time of being present. As wonderful as modern day technology is, it can also be a blessing and a curse.

Take some time to ask yourself what are your biggest distractions? Is there room for change to allow for a little more space to receive the benefits of being mindful with positive emotions and tune out our distractions? "you never change your life until you change something you do daily". JC Maxwell.

Have fun with it. Don't stress, just start paying as much attention as you can and for those of you who say you can't meditate, you are already meditating! By simply noticing when your mind has wandered and bringing it back to the present moment. The best part is when we are in the present moment we are free; free from the past, free from the future and free from distractions. Free to just be your beautiful, authenitc self.

As our time here comes to a close I am incredibly thankful for this experience; the moments of stillness, the adventures, the incredible beauty and time with my love. Until next year!

NOW, I am looking forward to getting back to North Carolina, reuniting with my friends, sharing the practice of yoga, continuing to work on my golf game, and... I am super excited to plant my first vegetable garden this summer (wish me luck)! I fell in love with the community garden in Indian Wells (pic below).

PS--I thought I would pass along a few of my vacay reads below that I have enjoyed.

Vacay Reads:

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo

Pretty Happy, Healthy Ways to Love your Body by Kate Hudson Meditations on Intentions and Being, by Rolf Gates

A Return To Love, by Marianne Williamson

Mantra Yoga+Health Magazine

Wellth, by Jason Wachob

Invitation to Meditation, Howard Cohn

Playing Big, Tara Mohr

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