The idea of mindfulness has entered the mainstream in the last few years and the term gets bandied about regarding many activities but is traditionally associated with meditation, and spirituality. In common use its definition is pretty vague, however in purest terms mindfulness involves acceptance of our thoughts, and feelings without judging them. When practicing mindfulness our mind is peaceful and thoughts are purely aligned with what we are experiencing in the present moment with no reference to the past, or future.
Mindfulness is recognised as an important therapeutic approach for a range of issues. Therapists Sally Baker, and Liz Hogon understand, and particularly focus on the power of the mind body connection to harness the power of the mind to resolve, and release self-limiting beliefs, and end self-sabotaging behaviour that impacts on the physical body.
They specialise in working with people to resolve issues around disordered eating so that those who have struggled with food issues for years can successfully achieve a healthy weight, and finally feel comfortable around food. They are also the co-authors of 7 Simple Steps to Stop Emotional Eating (Hammersmith Press 2015).
They increasingly recommend, and facilitate mindfulness practice as part of their therapeutic approach to help over come anxiety, and negative thinking. People who are mindful at meal times for instance, as opposed to eating in a zoned out, or distracted manner tend to eat more appropriately. This can have healthy repercussions for successful weight loss as well changing negative habits, and beliefs around eating, as well as improving a person’s over all relationship with food.
Recently scientists have found beneficial associations between mindfulness and physical activity. Early results suggest that people who deliberately immerse themselves in the feeling of moving, and the subtleties of their surroundings during exercise often achieve a deeper satisfaction from their session, and want to repeat the experience more often. Mindfulness while practicing yoga can in particular enhance the acknowledged benefits to the mind, body and spirit associated with the practice.
However, turning off the internal voice and simply just allowing the mind to be at peace is not as easy for some to achieve as they may have been led to believe. If on reading this your response is, ‘What inner voice - I don’t have one’, then that is your inner voice. Your inner voice runs a continuous internal dialogue commenting on everything you do, and often makes judgments on how well you do it too. For many people their inner voice is rarely a source of uplifting encouragement. It is more likely to be an unremitting flow of self-criticism, and negative self-judgements. Tuning in, and clearly hearing your inner voice is the crucial first step to silencing the draining, and dispiriting stream of negativity that can hinder true mindfulness.
Sally and Liz both encourage their clients to spend a little quiet time, just a few moments, every day for about a week to tune-in to their inner voice, and simply listen and note down the negative statements. A therapy tool they use to facilitate this is called Emotional Freedom Technique, (EFT or Tapping). EFT is an energy therapy that has proved highly effective for revealing true feelings, in this case the almost constant negative, chattering of the mind.
Once you have a greater awareness of your own unique brand of negative self-talk you can then apply another of their core therapy tools called Percussive Suggestion Technique (PSTEC) to turn-down, or break the emotions attached to the negative beliefs you have about yourself. Turning off your negative self-talk is the beginning of a powerful journey towards true mindfulness to enable you to experience your yoga practice in a deeper, and more satisfying way.
You can learn more about these powerful techniques for yourself and download the free EFT pdf guide, and two free PSTEC Mp3 click tracks from www.your7simplesteps.com/resources