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Basic mindfulness exercises given by Thich Nhat Hanh: Awareness of Your Body


Third exercise: Awareness of Your Body

The third exercise is to become aware of your body as you are breathing. “Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body.” This takes it one step further.

In the first exercise, you became aware of your in-breath and your out-breath. Because you have now generated the energy of mindfulness through mindful breathing, you can use that energy to recognize your body.

“Breathing in, I am aware of my body. Breathing out, I am aware of my body.” I know my body is there. This brings the mind wholly back to the body. Mind and body become one reality. When your mind is with your body, you are well-established in the here and the now. You are fully alive. You can be in touch with the wonders of life that are available in yourself and around you.

This exercise is simple, but the effect of the oneness of body and mind is very great

In our daily lives, we are seldom in that situation. Our body is there but our mind is elsewhere. Our mind may be caught in the past or in the future, in regrets, sorrow, fear, or uncertainty, and so our mind is not there. Someone may be present in the house, but he’s not really there, his mind is not there. His mind is with the future, with his projects, and he’s not there for his children or his spouse. Maybe you could say to him, “Anybody home?” and help him bring his mind back to his body.

So the third exercise is to become aware of your body. “Breathing in, I’m aware of my body.” When you practice mindful breathing, the quality of your in-breath and out-breath will be improved. There is more peace and harmony in your breathing, and if you continue to practice like that, the peace and the harmony will penetrate into the body, and the body will profit.


Written by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

These mindfulness exercises is an essential part of my mindful eating coaching program.  

Basic mindfulness exercises given by Thich Nhat Hanh: concentration


Second exercise: Concentration

The second exercise is that while you breathe in, you follow your in-breath from the beginning to the end. If your in-breath lasts three or four seconds, then your mindfulness also lasts three or four seconds. Breathing in, I follow my in-breath all the way through. Breathing out, I follow my out-breath all the way through. From the beginning of my out-breath to the end of my out-breath, my mind is always with it. Therefore, mindfulness becomes uninterrupted, and the quality of your concentration is improved.

So the second exercise is to follow your in-breath and your out-breath all the way through. Whether they are short or long, it doesn’t matter. What is important is that you follow your in-breath from the beginning to the end. Your awareness is sustained. There is no interruption.

Suppose you are breathing in, and then you think, “Oh, I forgot to turn off the light in my room.” There is an interruption. Just stick to your in-breath all the way through. Then you cultivate your mindfulness and your concentration. You become your in-breath. You become your out-breath. If you continue like that, your breathing will naturally become deeper and slower, more harmonious and peaceful. You don’t have to make any effort—it happens naturally.

Written by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh

These mindfulness exercises is an essential part of my mindful eating coaching program.  
 

Mindful eating: an Apple Meditation.



Mindful eating is an essential practice in my spiritual tradition. Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us a new way to approach food and eating.

Mindful eating is very pleasant. We sit beautifully. We are aware of the people that are sitting around us. We are aware of the food on our plates. This is a deep practice. 

Each morsel of food is an ambassador from the cosmos. 

When we pick up an apple, we look at it for half a second. We look mindfully to really recognize the piece of food, an apple. We should know that this is an apple. We identify it with our mindfulness: "I know this is an apple. " It only takes a fraction of a second. 

When we are mindful, we recognize what we are picking up. When we put it into our mouth, we know what we are putting into our mouth. When we chew it, we know what we are chewing. It's very simple.

Some of us, while looking at an apple, can see the whole cosmos in it, can see the sunshine in it, can see the earth in it. It has come from the whole cosmos for our nourishment. 

You may like to smile to it before you put it in your mouth. When you chew it, you are aware that you are chewing an apple. Don't put anything else into your mouth, like your projects, your worries, your fear, just put the apple in

And when you chew, chew only the apple, not your projects or your ideas. You are capable of living in the present moment, in the here and the now. It is simple, but you need some training to just enjoy the piece of apple. This is a miracle. 

Eating an apple consciously is to have a new awareness of the apple, of our world and of our own life. It celebrates nature, honoring what Mother Earth and the cosmos have offered us. 

Eating an apple with mindfulness is a meditation and can be deeply spiritual. With this awareness and insight, you begin to have a greater feeling of gratitude for and appreciation of the food you eat, and your connection to nature and all others in our world. As the apple becomes more real and vibrant, your life becomes more real and vibrant. 

Savoring the apple is mindfulness at work. And it is mindfulness that will help you reconnect with yourself and become healthier in mind, body and spirit now and in the future.

Be mindful: real hunger or stress-induced appetite?


Have you ever stopped before eating to ask yourself " I am really hungry?" Or do I feel stressed or anxious?

This is a toughie for women who tend to eat to deal with stress. Food is comfort when stress takes hold, and the urge to eat feels a lot like real hunger. When you wander into the kitchen or place an order at a restaurant, ask yourself if you're truly hungry, or if you're eating for other reasons.
If you are truly hungry, it will be easier to eat healthy foods. If you're stressed, you may crave fatty and/or sweet foods.
If you keep in mind that food will NOT solve the stress problems (and may create more of them) in your life, and learn other coping mechanisms for stress, you will be far better off.

Here are some effective strategies to try: 

5 Reasons to Practice Mindful Eating | Prevent Weight Gain with Eating Mindfully

Are you snacking on the run, cramming lunch down during a ten-minute break or mindlessly munching in front of a screen? If so, you’re not alone. 

Mindless speed eating is all too common in our society. But this habit has many unhealthy side affects: poor digestion, weight gain, discomfort after meals, fatigue.  

If practiced over time, speed eating may lead to obesity and a severe disconnection with our food, which affects not only our physical but also our mental and emotion health.

Five reasons to slow down and practice mindful eating: