No one knows better than you what your body needs and what is best for you.
ChiLiving gives you the tools to cut through the disturbances that cloud your clarity and helps you get to the heart of how to live your best life possible.
Our society is based more and more on distraction. We’re offered diversions in every form possible: media onslaught, entertainment galore, food of any kind, shopping for whatever we want.
The big question is this: are you getting what you truly want and need?
Are you eating healthy, nourishing food? Is your lifestyle supporting the environment that you’re dependent upon to live: clean food, air and water? Are you hearing your body’s call for regular movement? Are you living a life of meaning and purpose?
Mindfulness is about cultivating focused, present awareness and taking action based on a life forward movement that naturally comes out of presence. The opportunity to stop, breathe and feel yourself is just as available as all those distractions – even more so! It is literally there with every, single, breath.
Eating is a great example of where to practice mindfulness. Here are just a few pointers for mindful eating:
- eat when you’re hungry
- notice what is at play when you eat to distract yourself
- listen to and intuit your body’s needs and eat based on those needs
- become aware of cravings that are more about addiction than nourishment
- stay present with that addictive tension rather than caving to its demands
- enjoy and appreciate the food you have
If eating is an area of concern, these suggestions maybe sound too simplified, but it is a beginning. Becoming aware is the first, big step, toward change.
Part of a mindfulness practice is getting a gut felt sense of any situation by feeling into the moment with all your senses. Mindfulness asks you to see your mind’s response to that situation and begin to see when you have habitual, negative or limiting ideas that might hold you back. Rather than the mindful, alternative goal of healthy support or simply, a deep quiet knowing.
In any mindful pursuit, such as yoga, meditation, ChiWalking or ChiRunning, you’re asked to listen to your body, feel the sensations, and allow anything to come up that needs to be seen and heard. Then, you are present with whatever comes up.
For instance, you might become aware that you feel tired or tight or tense. That awareness could send your mind in a couple of directions. It might berate you for not being “better” somehow, it might review everything you did wrong to put you in this state. Or, a voice might say, “I’m just too tired to exercise right now.”
You might take a moment and feel some compassion for yourself and your body, in which case you’d know to go slow, listen even more carefully and take more time to loosen and warm up before going deeper into the asana, or before running or walking with more speed. You might find you really do need to rest.
As you practice more, you’ll begin to discern what is the truest voice for you.
The more you practice sensing and feeling into a situation, you become more aware of your minds assessments, judgments and analysis. Nothing wrong with that, unless it is biased or sweeping you into negativity. And, nothing wrong with negativity if you are aware of it and can begin to see through its machinations.
Are you listening to your deepest yearnings, and aware of when you’re moving in the right direction to fulfill them? If yes, if you are living a life based on good choices for you and your community. But if there is something in you that needs your attention, and you are not listening, perhaps distracting yourself with the many diversions at your fingertips, then learning and practicing mindfulness skills will lead to a more deeply fulfilling life.
Knowledge becomes wisdom when it is grounded in experience. In ChiWalking there are five mindful steps, which, when practiced, can be transferred to any area of your life; your work, relationships, health, or any aspect of self discovery:
- Get Aligned
- Engage your core
- Create Balance
- Make a Choice
- Move Forward
Make a Choice is at the heart of what we teach, as that is where the “rubber meets the road.” As Professor Dumbledore said to Harry Potter, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
With practice, you will get so good at making the best choices for yourself and moving forward with those choices, that life won’t seem as stressful and your strong center and your flexible attitude will become your norm.
It’s known as mindful living and it’s what we call ChiLiving.