My Journey to Mindfulness: Yoga

The answers that you seek quote

In 2015 I committed to focus on mindfulness. In an effort to improve my awareness of the present moment and strengthen my mind, body, and soul I decided to incorporate yoga into my weekly routine. It was not until I tried yoga that I learned how challenging it is for me to be still and experience the present.

My mind is almost always going 100 miles per hour. I have a hard time taking a break and doing nothing (for better and for worse). Mindfulness is important because it brings the individual back to the people and events surrounding them. Elon offers a wonderful wellness program for employees that includes yoga twice a week, so I was able to ease into beginner yoga classes starting in January.

During yoga practice you are asked to clear your mind of all thoughts and focus on your breathing. Do you know what happened when I started attending these classes? I would get to class, stretch out on my mat, and then start thinking about work, meetings later that day, and my plans after work. I would be thinking about my friends and my love life (or lack thereof) – I found a way to think about everything BUT my breathing. It is very hard to turn off the mind! Over time, and through the words of the teacher, I have learned to let these wandering thoughts come into my mind and then flow out of my mind.

It is a work in progress, but consistently practicing yoga has helped me be better at living in the present moment. When my mind wanders I am most often worrying about something, so I try hard to live in the present moment and soak in everything that is happening around me. There’s other positives too: a few months in I was able to flip my dog! Yoga is giving me strength – in mind, body, and soul.

How is your year going? What have you done to focus on your one word for 2015?

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Monthly Moment: May 2015

Greensboro Yoga Image

My monthly moment for May is a picture I took at a free outdoor yoga class in Greensboro this month. I picked this image because this was a perfect day with my friend Jessi. The yoga class relaxed me and I was excited to be taking part in activities like this outside. Fitness by the Fountain is just another reason I love Greensboro!

Click monthly moment below to link up and join the fun!

 

Monthly Moment

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Monthly Moment: April 2015

My friend Veronica Roman recently invited me to join her new linkup group, Monthly Moment. This invitation provided the perfect excuse to get back into a blogging routine. My posts have been scattered since starting my full-time job at Elon and I still find myself searching for my blog identity.

Veronica says share a single photo to capture a moment for the month that you want to pause and savor. My one word for 2015 is mindfulness, and this monthly linkup will provide another avenue for me to reflect on positive experiences in my life and be more mindful.

When I look back, I remember that April has been a challenging month and an amazing month at the same time. There are a few things not represented in the photo I chose but worth mentioning. My family celebrated the life of my one of my biggest heroes, Mama, and I also made forever memories with friends from all areas of my life, including seeing Kenny Chesney on the front row in Greensboro and road-tripping to Athens, GA to be with CSAA cohortmates again.

But for my monthly moment I chose an image from my best friend Taylor’s beautiful wedding. The wedding reunited my close group of college girlfriends (we currently live in 4 different cities) for a long weekend. This time together reminded me that no matter what happens or where we are we will always be the best of friends. And that I always have something to learn from these amazing women.

Chandler and college best friends

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One Word 2015: Mindfulness

mind·ful·ness, noun
  1. the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
  2. a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

This year I am choosing one word to guide my actions and focus in 2015. If this is something you are interested in doing, check out #oneword2015 on Twitter and join me in Sam Davidson‘s challenge to come up with one focus word for the year. 2014 put me at a crossroads in some ways, and 2015 will be the first year in a very long time (20+ years) that I am not in school for any part of the year. The timing is right to be more mindful.

Mindfulness image

“It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you”

During this year of mindfulness, I will:

Be non-judging
Practice moment by moment awareness and acceptance
Grow with my faith
Care more; worry less
Be patient
Pay more attention to what is happening here and now, not necessarily what is wrong or right, good or bad
Have a beginner’s mind
Approach everyday things with curiosity and savor them
Trust others
Forgive mistakes – big or small
Be generous
Show gratitude for good moments and grace for bad ones
Practice compassion
Make peace with imperfection
Embrace vulnerability by trusting others (and myself)
Accept and appreciate that things come and go
Let go
Reduce stress
Strengthen my mind, body, & soul
Re-evaluate my priorities
Realize and experience the good in me and what’s around me.
Acknowledge the bad and be wise enough to know whether or not it’s worth worrying about
Spend more time with friends, less time on my phone doing stupid things
Be present when it matters
Say what I mean, mean what I say
Care more & worry less
Do more good
Be intentional with the people I care about
Love well, live well, and realize a life more abundant is not about abundance of things but of life

Have you chosen one word for 2015? If so, please share in the comments and join Sam’s One Word Group. Cheers to 2015!

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PS – This blog post I found on Twitter helped guide my thinking about mindfulness and what it would mean for me this year.