I was in downward dog position today with fifteen other yogis around me breathing deeply, clearing the mind chatter and relaxing our bodies. Flowing through each motion of the sun salutation I became increasingly aware of my body and breath. My mind was focused on each movement, each inhalation, each exhalation. All was quiet, and I felt at peace. During Shivasana, the final resting pose of class, stillness encompassed me, I felt light and ethereal. As I left the studio and got into my car I felt grounded and at ease. I rolled down the coast for a few miles, parked and exchanged my yoga mat for my surfboard. Walking along the path, with my board raised above my head, I listened to the gentle crashing of the ocean waves, felt the warmth of the sand beneath my feet and felt the childlike sensation of being on a playground.
And then it hit me. I realized something funny. When we think of mindfulness our awareness, our thoughts, automatically veer towards yoga or meditation. We think about classes that teach our mind to focus, acknowledge the present moment and allow the body to relax. Rarely do we acknowlege other activities as forms of meditation. Yes, it is true that Jon Kabat-Zin and others have taught us this lesson, yet in our everyday life we easily forget. Meditation is eveywhere; it’s any activity during which the mind is quiet and we’re in sync with the present.
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As I glide into the endless sea my mind defers to my senses. I am completely in the moment and filled with appreciation. The rhythm of my body flows with the cycle of the waves. As my arms glide through the water, cutting in and out to propel me forward, the cooling sensation is felt all the way to my fingertips. Paddling out to the line break, one is enamored by what lies ahead...an endless playground where the smell and taste of salty water and sound of crashing waves engages me fully. What could be more meditative than than this? Eyes looking out for the perfect break, the repetitive motion of paddling allowing your mind to effortlessly ‘be,' popping up and riding down the face of the wave...the 20 second feeling of exhiliraton...when nothing else matters except you and the wave. And then, you do it again.
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Whether it is surfing, yoga, running or simply being still we can find peace wherever we are - It is a state of mind and something we can access anytime and anywhere. This knowledge is easily forgotten in times of extreme stress and it is our responsibility to disentangle ourselves from life’s muck and live more freely. It is our responsibility to break out of the thoughts that can ultimately imprison us. It is our choice to be mindful...
Lose yourself in the moment, doctors prescription for a mindful way of life.