top button
    Connect to us
      Facebook Login
      Site Registration Why to Join

    Most popular tags
    yoga meditation yoga for health healthcare diabetes benefits home remedies pregnancy yoga poses human body asanas weight loss food surya namaskar fertility mindfulness health ayurveda infertility type 2

Meditation & Mindfulness: What's the Difference?

+1 vote
16 views

Meditation and mindfulness are increasingly popular buzzwords, but what do they really mean? Undoubtedly, the two are intertwined by their shared goal; awareness and acceptance of the present moment exactly as it is, as a means of cultivating a sense of ease, joy and peace of mind.

In a broad sense, meditation is the practice of various stages of concentration, whereas mindfulness is a basic human ability, something innate in us all. Embedding meditation as a mindfulness practice forges a clear distinction between the two, but for a deeper understanding, it is necessary to appreciate the nuances of each approach.

What Is Mindfulness?

Personally, the more I try to learn mindfulness from an intellectual perspective, the clearer it becomes that mindfulness is not something that needs to be learned – it’s more like remembering. Mindfulness is tuning in to the one's stream of consciousness as it flows and using this awareness to be present in the current moment. (Learn more in The Art of Mindfulness Is a Masterpiece of Moments in the 'Now' (5 Tips on How).)

 

Mindfulness is a quality, a seed buried deep within each and every one of us. And just like those other seeds of positivity - honesty, empathy, loyalty and patience to name but a few - we can choose either to nourish or neglect it. The good news is that mindfulness can be cultivated, and with a little practice, it will steadily bloom its way into everyday life.

But what exactly is mindfulness from a practical point of view? I recently had the pleasure of posing this question to a roomful of people at a workshop, and their answers made me smile from the inside out:

Awareness, living in the now, letting go, appreciation, gratitude, love, presence, joy, understanding, compassion, freedom, peace.

Each answer was hesitantly bounced back to me with the intonation of a question, and yet, not a single response was incorrect. 

Mindfulness is absolutely all of these things - and more.

Habits in the Mind

Essentially, we have two strong habits in the mind; running into the future (anxiety, worries, fear, rushing) and dwelling in the past (regret, sorrow, despair). Sound familiar? Of course they do!

We Really Hope YOU Will Be Able To Grab One Of These Beautiful Necklaces Before They’re Gone! Here’s Why...

Most of us know too well the suffering caused by both of these habits, and yet being equipped with that knowledge isn’t quite enough to shift it. By remembering and using mindfulness as an innate skill or ability, it becomes possible to accept the present moment exactly as it is, without desperately willing it to change. When we stop fretting over the past and leaning into the future, it becomes clear that all those qualities we search for are abundantly right there in front of us: gratitude, love, joy, freedom, peace…

Meditation and the Monkey Mind

Of course, this is a simplistic view; I promise I’m not purposefully trying to make it sound easier than it is! Mindfulness takes persistence and practice – and this is where meditation comes in. Although mindfulness is present in us all, it is something which ought to be trained, in much the same way that muscles need to be exercised. 

In this sense, meditation is a bit like a treadmill for the mind. Dating back centuries, meditation comes in a vast array of styles and traditions, both religious and secular. But in its simplest form, meditation can be thought of as various stages of concentration. As such, most meditative practices use a focal point such as breath, bodily sensations, repeated words or sounds (mantra), gaze (drishti) or energy centres (chakras).

It’s a common misunderstanding that the sole purpose of meditation is to empty the mind of thoughts. If you’ve ever sat with your monkey mind for even a minute, you’ll know exactly what a challenge this is! Although the ultimate goal may well be the enlightened garden of no thought, thoughts and feelings arguably provide the cornerstone of meditation. It is a practice of becoming the observer of thoughts, of being able to take enough of a step back to notice the patterns that fluctuate in the mind. In doing so, the connection between thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviour becomes crystal clear.

Mindfulness in Action

The awareness and presence required for meditation is what triggers mindfulness. It’s a way of remembering what is already there. Whilst meditation is perhaps the most commonly known mindfulness practice, there are plenty of equally powerful alternatives if sitting still just isn’t your thing. 

Plum village, established by the forefather of modern mindfulness, Thich Nhat Hanh, is a worldwide community dedicated to bringing mindfulness into each and every moment. Their practices include mindful walking, noble silence, mindful eating, touching the earth and mindful communication, all of which essentially put meditation in action. Although traditional forms of meditation are a useful tool for connecting with mindfulness, it’s clear that it can be integrated with even the most basic of daily activities.

A Joy to be Alive

Although distinct approaches, mindfulness and meditation share the same essence; teaching us to live happily in the present moment, no matter what it may be.

Most of us have become so busy that we continually create our own suffering, forgetting what we are doing and who we really are. Distractions not only make us overlook the people and beauty that surround us, but they cause us to lose touch with what is going on inside. In practicing mindfulness, we become truly present and aware – of the world around us, of our bodies, feelings and minds.

However you choose to practice – whether sitting in meditation or simply taking a few mindful steps – be sure to take the time to look around and remember what a joy it is to be alive.

posted Sep 4 by Nikitha S Prasad

  Promote This Article
Facebook Share Button Twitter Share Button Google+ Share Button LinkedIn Share Button Multiple Social Share Button

Related Articles
+1 vote

In modern life, we’re always being asked to do more and do it faster. While this may be feasible for a while, this way of life can quickly lead to burn out if we’re not careful. If you’re feeling stressed, burnt out, and over-worked, a relaxing holiday may be just what you need to recharge your batteries. Instead of booking an attraction-packed holiday, you may benefit from packing your yoga top and going on a mindfulness break, instead. So, where are the best places to go? In this article, we explore the top 5 mindfulness destinations around the world.

5. Rishikesh, India

For centuries, India has been the place people go to find themselves. If you want a break from day-to-day life, Rishikesh is a great option. Located in the heart of the Himalayas, the city is renowned for its yoga and meditation retreats and is cherished by the local Hindu community.

If you’re looking to reconnect with yourself, Yoganga Healing may suit you perfectly. The holistic healing method was developed to transform present emotional states to higher levels of consciousness. The practice has many benefits including improved physical and mental health and the essential knowledge for growth. According to their website, the Yoganga workshops are for yogis who are seeking to learn about and experience yogic techniques in a guided environment. Their mission is “To help people live lives free from limitations, derived from the mind. To help people explore the latent potential in their life, and live their life in totality, love and happiness. Seeing this potential uncovered, is a beautiful thing and extremely satisfying for me.”

4. Ibiza, Spain

If you want to stay a little closer to home, Ibiza can prove a short break of full relaxation. While some people associate Ibiza with wild parties and brightly coloured shots, there’s way more to it. The gorgeous Spanish island is one of the biggest yoga destinations in Europe. If you’re not into yoga, don’t panic. You can still take in the beautiful Mediterranean views and get pampered into a deep state of relaxation.

One of our favourite Ibiza breaks is the Yoga Pilates Ibiza Retreat. Led by experienced yogi Opale, the retreat offers personalised flow yoga classes that can be adapted to suit your needs. The foundation of the practice comes from Sukhita Yoga, the yoga of happiness. During your stay, you can participate in 3 hours of yoga each day, practised on a shaded terrace. Morning sessions will be followed by a nourishing lunch, while evening sessions induce a deep relaxation ready for sleep. All sessions include asanas, breathing exercises, and mindfulness meditation. Some classes incorporate Pilates exercises into the teachings, but you can choose whether to participate in these or stick to traditional yoga. The Pilates sequences focus on improving your core and building strength in the muscles that support the spine. If you have a longterm health condition, Opale will design an adapted program to benefit your ailments. You can’t get much better than that!

3. Bali

Bali is one of the top mindfulness destinations of all time. One of the most Instagrammed places in the world, Bali’s beautiful scenery is guaranteed to leave you feeling zen. If you’re heading there for a mindfulness break, you may choose to put technology away and have some much-needed downtime from social media. If you do want to post images on Instagram, set aside 15 minutes each day to do so. That way, you won’t be tempted to browse throughout the day.

While Bali is packed with yoga spots, one that stands out is Ubud Yoga House. Offering small classes in open air studios, Ubud Yoga House is a boutique yoga studio surrounded by rice terraces and jungle. The studio hosts a range of inclusive classes, selling themselves as a welcome alternative to bigger, more commercial studios. The family-run company offers personalised classes for yogis of all levels – even total beginners! As the studio is only a 15-minute walk from the centre of Ubud, you can head down to the city in-between classes if you fancy.

2. Zermatt, Switzerland

If beaches aren’t really your scene, head to the sky town, Zermatt, in the south of Switzerland. While some people go there for climbing and hiking, that’s not all the area offers. With a number of luxurious chalets at the bottom of the mountains, Zermatt is the perfect location to rest, relax, and recharge.

If you are interested in the mountain-top attractions, we recommend the Gornergrat excursion. During your session, you’ll be taken to a three-thousand-metre mountain ridge where you can enjoy the breathtaking views of the Matterhorn and the surrounding mountains. If you prefer, the Matterhorn can also be viewed from the Rothorn. If the sun isn’t shining, there is still plenty to do in Zermatt. If museums are your thing, visit the Matterhorn Museum where you can learn about the historical development of Zermatt from a mountain village to a popular holiday resort.

1. Maldives

Often described as heaven on earth, the Maldives is our top mindfulness destination. Offering crystal clear lagoons and white sandy beaches, we can’t think of anywhere better to relax and recharge. 

If you’re looking to take your trip to the next level, we recommend visiting Duniye Spa. Founded in 2002, Duniye has become a leading spa in the Maldives and Indian Ocean region. Over the past few years, the company has won several international awards and recognition. Each award is a testimony to the quality of the spa itself and of the classes and treatments the guests are spoilt with.

We don't provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See additional information.
...