Mindfulness Techniques for beginners

Table of Contents

 

  1. Mindfulness of Breathing: the basic
  2. Mindfulness of Breathing: the two qualities
  3. Mindfulness of Breathing: with the body
  4. Mindfulness of Breathing: calming the body
  5. Mindfulness of Breathing: with joy
  6. Mindfulness of Breathing: with the mind
  7. Mindfulness of Breathing: calming the mind
  8. Mindfulness of Breathing: different perspective
  9. Mindfulness of Breathing: the cause
  10. Mindfulness of Breathing: true nature
  11. Mindfulness of the Present Moment
  12. The dominant experience
  13. Calming Urge
  14. Mindfulness of Body Sensations
  15. Mindful Walk: Following Your Breath
  16. Mindful Walk: movement awareness
  17. Mindful Nature Walk
  18. Power Walk
  19. Mindful Eating
  20. Mindful Qigong: Short
  21. Mindful Qigong: Sitting
  22. Mindfulness of Sight Change
  23. Mindfulness of Sight

1.     Mindfulness of Breathing: the basic

  • Clearly aware of the physical sensations of your breath from the beginning to the end of your in-breath. And do the same to your out-breath. The awareness should be uninterrupted continuous for the duration.
  • At the same time, know that it is an in-breath when it occurs and know it is an out-breath when it occurs. Note that beginners often find that it is easier to silently acknowledge the knowing with phrases like: “I know (I’m) breathing in. I know (I’m) breathing out” or “This is an in-breath”, “this is an out-breath”. This is merely to acknowledge your awareness but not to force or influence your breath.
  • Doing nothing. You don’t need to do anything. No need to stop thoughts or empty your mind. No need to try no to think about. No need to do anything.
  • Before starting the practice, straight your intention “I will be mindful of my breaths”.

Note:

  • Sit in a way that your upper is straight up and balanced. Your lower body is to support the upper body. Alternatively you can stand or lie down.
  • Rest your eyes but remain open if you can.
  • Your breath is natural. No need to force or withhold breath or breathe in a different way.

2.     Mindfulness of Breathing: the two qualities

Aware of the two qualities of your breath: the direction of air movement (in or out) and the duration of your breath (short or long). It can be helpful to silently acknowledge your awareness, for example:

  • “I know (I’m) breathing in long” (or “This is a short in-breath”).
  • “I know (I’m) breathing out long” (or “This is a short out-breath”).

3.     Mindfulness of Breathing: with the body

Aware of the two objects: both your breath and the whole body sensations. It can be helpful to silently acknowledge your awareness, for example:

  • “I know (I’m) breathing in and experiencing the whole body” (or “Breathing-in and experiencing the whole body”).
  • “I know (I’m) breathing out and experiencing the whole body” (or “Breathing-out and experiencing the whole body”).

 

4.     Mindfulness of Breathing: calming the body

  • Breathing-in and calming the whole body.
  • Breathing-out and calming the whole body.

5.     Mindfulness of Breathing: with joy

  • Breathing-in and experiencing joy (or pleasantness).
  • Breathing-out and experiencing joy (or pleasantness).

6.     Mindfulness of Breathing: with the mind

  • Breathing-in and experiencing the mind.
  • Breathing-out and experiencing the mind.

7.     Mindfulness of Breathing: calming the mind

  • Breathing-in and calming the mind.
  • Breathing-out and calming the mind.

8.     Mindfulness of Breathing: different perspective

  • Breathing-in and receiving.
  • Breathing-out and giving.

 

Alternative: Be aware that be breathed rather than you’re breathing.

9.     Mindfulness of Breathing: the cause

  • Breathing-in and touching the universe.
  • Breathing-out and touching the universe.

10.Mindfulness of Breathing: true nature

  • Breathing-in and what’s this?
  • Breathing-out and what’s this?

11.Mindfulness of the Present Moment

Be aware of whatever happening in the present moment including the breath.

 

Note: this is also known as a practice of doing nothing – just being in the present moment.

12.The dominant experience

Notice the dominant experience in the present moment.

13.Calming Urge

  • Breathing-in and experiencing an urge.
  • Breathing-out and calming the urge.

14.Mindfulness of Body Sensations

Be aware of physical sensation in each part of your body at a time. (This is not a imagination or visualization practice.) The sensation may include  one or more of the followings: temperature; touching of fabric or other object on your skin; pressure on your feet or buttocks; muscle tightness; pain; itchiness; moving sensation (rise and fall of belly while breathing); air flowing sensations in your respiratory system; and pulses.

15.Mindful Walk: Following Your Breath

  • Forward the left foot while air-coming in (in-breath)
  • Forward the right foot while air going out (out-breath)
  • Brief pause and rest while air movement stops

Note:

  • A common mistake: force your breath to follow your foot movement.
  • The whole body relaxed

16.Mindful Walk: movement awareness

  • Clearly aware of the body movements including feet, ankle, legs, thigh, hip joints, and arms
  • Aware of the various muscles in the body areas (e.g. feet, legs, uppers body) being tenses and relaxed as you walk.

17.Mindful Nature Walk

  • Be aware of the sensation in your feet such as pressure and other sensations.
  • Further be aware of the texture of the ground based on the sensation in your feet such as soft/hard, smooth/rough, wet/dry.
  • Be aware of movement.
  • Be aware of sight change.
  • Be aware of mind change.
  • Be aware of your whole body sensations
  • Be aware of sounds.
  • Be aware of the what are mentioned above with your breath.
  • Combine one or more of the above techniques.

Note:

  • Your whole body relaxed.
  • Using the entire sole.
  • Further noticing that you’re touching the plants.

18.Power Walk

Use your qi (기 氣) in your walk

Intentional walking movement

 

See also: Mindful Nature Walk

19.Mindful Eating

  • Be aware of basic eating experiences, e.g., sweetness, saltiness, the sound of chewing, the texture change, pleasantness, urge, bodily reactions, mental reactions and what you’re eating
  • Further be aware of: pleasure, desire, what triggers the desire, calming the desire, the causes of the food.
  • Enjoying one mindful breath after swallowing.

20.Mindful Qigong: Short

  • Clearly noticing each movement while moving.
  • Noticing the blood flowing sensations and breath while resting.
  • The four movements are: two hands holding up, looking back, touching the feet, falling

21.Mindful Qigong: Sitting

  • Clearly notice each movement while moving.
  • Noticing the blood flowing sensations and breath while resting.
  • The four movements are: collecting, start, pushing, sword.

22.Mindfulness of Sight Change

This can be practiced while walking or moving. Not recommended to use while driving if you’re a beginner.

  • Notice appearance of an object (in your sight while moving).
  • Notice disappearance of an object (in your sight while moving).
  • Notice object changes its position (appears to be nearer or farther)

Note:

  • This practice is not about identifying the object but notice the changes in the scene.

 

Note: also apply this technique to be aware of the mental phenomena appearing/disappearing in the mind.

23.Mindfulness of Sight

  • Just be aware of the sight (visual phenomena) without interpretation.
  • Be ware that mind sees visual phenomena as object or qualities (e.g. shape, color).
  • Be aware that mind interprets some object or quality as pleasing or displeasing.
  • Be aware that mind desires (likes) or avoids (dislikes) the object or quality.

 

Note: further apply this technique to sound, body sensations, taste, smell and mental phenomena.

 

 

Read the Part 2

 

Written by Sung Yang in 2010. Revised in July 2017.

The above are some of the most basic mindfulness techniques, Contact Sung if you’d like to learn more or need personalized techniques for optimal learning and more effective practice.