31 Mindful Things to Be with in March – (extract from mindbodygreen)
Now is a great time to refresh yourself and your mind. Try one of these contemplative focuses each day, listed in no particular order, and observe the plethora of paths to a more balanced self.
Focus on the fun, and don’t get hung-up on the outcome!
- Practice three-part breathing.
Use this exercise of harnessing the breath through a three-step process to empower your pranayama prowess.
Here’s a little three-part breathing exercise you may like to use. This one is pretty easy and, better yet, totally discreet, so you can try it out anywhere and pretty much under any situation.
Begin by breathing through your nose. Slow down and deepen your inhales and exhales. Now, break each inhale and exhale down into three parts.
On your inhale:
- first, your breath goes to fill and expand your belly
- second, it filters into and inflates your middle rib cage
- finally, it moves into your upper chest
These three steps all happen relatively quickly and in succession, during the course of one very long and steady inhale.
On your exhale, empty the breath in reverse order:
- first, release the breath from your upper chest
- second, allow the air to seep out of your middle ribs
- last, but not least, deflate the belly
Draw your belly in towards your spine slightly at the end of your exhale to empty the breath out of your body completely. Then, just keep repeating this pattern, focusing on filling up your belly, ribs and chest fully and on elongating and deepening your breathing.
Keep at it, and surrender your thoughts and your entire self to this breath. After doing this for a several rounds, just maybe, you’ll realize you’ve entered your center of calm.
- Do a body scan.
Try bringing non-judging attention to each part of your body. Acknowledge how each feels, and eventually you’ll increase awareness of the body-mind connection.
- Eat with mindfulness.
Truly appreciate the act of nourishing your body to enrich your entire dining experience. In one full day you’ll have many opportunities to try this practice.
- Focus on your chores.
By turning your attention to seemingly mundane activities, you can use a daily chore as training in awareness — with or without music works just fine!
- Try walking meditation.
Experience the awe of taking one step at a time, heel to toe and foot to grass, foot to sand, or foot to pavement. Instead of daydreaming the dawn, the dusk, or the day away, observe your physical body or your mental presence.
- Breathe to a count.
Inhaling and exhaling on a count can enhance a here-and-now routine. You can count “one-two” as you inhale, and then “two-one” as you exhale; then “one-two-three” as you inhale, and “three-two-one” as you exhale. Take this strategy all the way up to 10, or try this exercise in which your exhale lasts twice as long as your inhale.
- Commute mindfully.
Instead of indulging your wandering mind on the train or in the car, try being present. You may find you become a happier person at work!
- Listen intentionally.
Often when we’re engaged in conversation, we’re not actually listening. We’re planning our next statement, or we’re simply lost in our thoughts. Take a day to be an intentional listener.
- Allow and accept.
Frequently we’re so busy rejecting a situation — tangled traffic, things unfolding the opposite of how we planned — that we get caught up in trying to change reality as opposed to simply allowing. Take one day to experience the mental and physical relief of letting go and accepting.
- Practice gratitude.
Compile a list of opportunities you’re grateful for at the beginning or end of the day — or better yet, throughout the day.
- Use mantras.
Sometimes you can use a mantra to meditate with. Simply “Breathing in, I am calm, Brathing out, “I release tension” You can choose any words that you feel fit your moments.
- Meditate while moving.
Mindfulness does not require you to sit still. Go for a long walk, run, swim laps, or take to the yoga mat.
- Practice non-judgment.
While it’s true that we can’t prevent our minds from judging, we can control whether we attach to the thought or let it go. On this day, release each judgment as quickly as it comes.
- Meditate in the morning.
Arrange your day to include a morning altar session, ideally before the rest of the house or the world around you awakens.
- Meditate in the evening.
Take time to sit at the end of the day, but be wary of waiting until too close to sleep or when you’re overtired.
- Use alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana).
Cultivate the power of the breath with this ancient channel-clearing practice.
- Observe a tree of contemplation.
Choose a tree and simply spend time to observe.
We know laughter alone is healthy. Create an opportunity to laugh your way through the day.
- Practice lovingkindness or maitri (metta)
Be compassionate with yourself, unconditionally. Try a loving kindness mantra: “May I be happy, may I find peace,” or be gentle and forgiving with yourself for the day. Take it a step further, and focus maîtri on those around you as well.
- Celebrate renewal.
Celebrate a fresh beginning: welcoming the first day of spring, refreshing your contemplative routine, reenergizing the feng shui in your home or office, or adapting a new outlook.
- Be generous.
Practicing generosity with others cultivates more joy than doing things for ourselves. Give intentionally and purposefully with your energy, your time, or your funds.
- Be fearless.
Fearlessness is not necessarily courage. When we move in fearlessness, we actually let go of the fear and release our attachment to the outcome.
- Appreciate simplicity.
If you are not already seeking more simplicity by living with less, try it for one day. Go without excess and luxury and note the effects.
- Try tonglen.
Surrender to darkness — pain, sadness, anger — by breathing it in, and share light — joy, gratitude, peace — by breathing it out.
If you’re able, take one day to retreat from the world. No phone calls, no Internet, no television, and no people. Meditate, tune in to silence, chant, move, create or just be.
- Meditate on nature.
Go outside. Be present in nature and all of its glory. Observe yourself and your environment.
- Take a class or seek a teacher.
One day this month, take a class or work with a teacher to expand your horizons into new territory.
- Practice ahimsa.
Ahimsa encourages us to avoid causing harm, and more importantly, not even let it cross our minds. Be aware of the weight of your thoughts and actions throughout at least one day in March.
Spend one day in which your central mindful goal is to observe yourself and your surroundings.
For one day, let go of your emotions, others’ reactions, or a harmful loop circulating your thoughts. If it’s time for you to release something or someone, conduct a sunset or transition ceremony.
- Set goals mindfully.
Reflect on the effects of the awareness techniques you’ve implemented. Set intentions for your personal journey on the dharma path.