Striving for Mindfulness
I recently listened to a podcast with Dr. Dan Brown where mindfulness was described as the ability to concentrate and focus on what you want to at any given time. So, if you want to daydream and let your mind roam, then you have the ability to do so. And if you want to focus on finishing a task, then you are able to block out any distractions. Who wouldn’t want that kind of mind control?
The idea of being able to effectively manage my mind seemed particularly useful as I have a lot of studying and researching ahead of me (thank you dream book and new life goals). Growing up, I struggled with reading comprehension and as an adult I can still have a tough time paying attention. While the Peloton app has been convenient and beneficial for 5 to 20-minute meditations, I found it difficult to focus my thoughts for much longer than 10 minutes—even after meditating for a couple months.
Benefits of Visualization
It wasn’t until I added visualizations to my yoga and meditation time that I learned to concentrate. I found guided visualizations to be much more effective in training my mind to focus than meditative practices with less direction. I was actually able to be in the moment. I learned how to create landscapes in my mind, perform body scans, manage passing thoughts and focus on my breath.
As a result, I am now (amazingly) able to study more quickly and understand what I’m reading without having to recite it aloud—my high school self would be so proud! I’ve replaced daily meditations with weekly yoga and visualization sessions so I can continue to improve my awareness and learn to consistently calm my mind. Plus, it’s been easier and more enjoyable to pick a day during the week instead of trying to find time each day to mediate—at least for now and my current schedule.