Each month of 2017, I’m committed to a monthly challenge for myself and this month's 4 weekly challenges to cultivate mindfulness, is no exception. I decided to make my challenges public and invite others to join in, too. Each month is focused on something entirely different and explores the characteristics that I’m interested in cultivating in my own life: creativity, inspiration, nature, love, growth. I’m exploring all the possibilities of living my life at the highest possible vibration.
It all starts with an idea
Whenever I start thinking about a challenge, I always start by sketching ideas in my Bullet Journal. I tend to sketch using mind maps, which involves lots of circles with words inside them. Then I start to connect ideas to form bigger themes. This month is #MarchMindfulness and each week I'll be sharing tools for staying centred and staying present — all focused around a weekly challenge.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness dates back centuries to Buddhism. It’s a simple concept focusing on being present, feeling expansive and light, in a non-judgemental way. The result is increased awareness, clarity and acceptance of our present-moment.
Inside each of us is a powerful life force, yet a sense of separation between our physical and emotional selves, as well as chaos and uncertainty that exists in our external lives, can cause us to feel ungrounded, confused and overwhelmed.
How to have a mindful month
These four weekly challenges are an invitation to help you cultivate mindfulness and meet the challenges daily, in a way that inspires you.
This is quite easily my favourite breathing exercise. It’s immediate effects quiet the mind and balances the nervous system.
Week 1: Try square breath.
- Begin this practice by becoming aware of your IN breath and your OUT breath.
- Start bringing them into balance and slowing them down.
- Next, start to inhale as slowly as possible for a count of eight.
- Then, begin to hold your breath in for a count of eight.
- Slowly exhale for the same count of eight.
- Finally, hold your breath out for eight.
Try this for 5 minutes every day of week 1.
Notice the energy that your breath carries - inhale the possibility into every cell of your body and exhale what no longer serves you.
I first discovered this technique in one of many workshops with Max Strom. He speaks a great deal about the breath and the vitality it brings to our bodies, as well as the power it has to heal. Listen to this great Ted Talk on Breathing to Heal.
Track your progress daily
I’ve also created a handy, free calendar download below, so you can track your progress along the way! Each time you meet the challenge, colour in a star on your calendar so you can track your progress.
4 weekly challenges to cultivate mindfulness
Join the challenge, let us know how you're getting on by tagging your posts with #MarchMindfulness. Here's a sneak peek of the whole month:
Week 1: Try square breath.
Week 2: Cultivate gratitude.
Week 3: Meditation.
Week 4: Notice things.