Welcome to our mindfulness series with world-renowned yogi, Kate Kendall. For this week’s teaching, she shares exactly what it means to practise mindfulness and the daily benefits she experiences from leading a mindful life.
Mindfulness: it’s quite the buzzword right now. But what does it really mean and how can we apply it every day, sans the incense and down dogs?
As an ‘active yogi’ (i.e. someone who ‘actively’ shows up in whatever they’re doing and endeavours to lead wholeheartedly), mindfulness is my mantra.
Mindfulness isn’t something you dedicate 20 minutes of your day to in the hope that some kind of feeling will show up.
It’s way more practical than that. It’s a commitment to being ‘alive’ and alert in the body and to be aware of thoughts, actions and feelings in every moment.
“Cool,” I hear you say. “I love feeling chilled and all that, but how does it contribute to my career? How does it improve my relationships? And what does it do for my health?”
Firstly, I love your curiosity—dig deep and wonder, always. And secondly, here’s a little research I prepared—professionally and personally—earlier.
Yep, that’s right. By practising moment-to-moment awareness, you’re building your ‘focus’ muscles and anchoring yourself to ‘right now’ which means you’re way more productive. At work, this productivity leads to higher levels of self-satisfaction and fulfilment by the end of the day—that feeling as though you’ve squeezed out every last drop. It’s the good kind of ‘done’ as opposed to the stretched-in-a-million-different-ways-but-achieved-nothing kind of ‘done’.
Tick. Who doesn’t want to have ‘incredible lover’ as part of their repertoire? And I’m not joking either. Mindful lovemaking is a thing. When we combine the art of awareness and get completely immersed in sensations whilst ‘doing the do’, we feel more connected, more able to intuitively read our partner and find a rhythm that’s totally in tune, sexy and outrageously good.
Out of the bed, mindfulness promotes clear boundaries and allows you to be fully you, whilst your partner to be fully them—two bodies, accepting and open. Hot!
And this effects our vitality and health. Why? Because when we’re that closely connected to sensations inside the body as well as emotions and energy levels — all the things that dropping into mindfulness encourages — we’re better able to know when we need to rest and when we’re ready to go ‘full tilt’ again. Try listening to your cravings next time, and before reacting, notice — do I really need that sugar hit or am I just needing to give myself some metaphorical sweetness? Get playful and enquire. Your body has secrets to tell if you just listen for long enough.