By Kathryn Boland, Flow and Grow Kids Yoga Training Graduate and Blog Manager
Mindfulness: what does it make you think of? Maybe you’ve felt like it’s not for you -- too complicated, too challenging, and you don’t just have the time anyways. Or maybe you have notable experience with mindfulness, but need some inspiration to rekindle your practice. In either case, or anywhere in between, Lara Hocheiser’sMindfulness for Beginners in Ten Minutes a Day: Mindful Moments to Bring Clarity and Calm to Your Morning, Day, and Nightcan guide you in meaningful mindfulness no matter your relationship with the practice.
The exercises are simple (to the contrary of what many people believe), and Lara shares them with straightforward language, warmth, and a welcoming spirit -- inviting all in to receive from the mindfulness practice she offers. "The step-by-step guide makes it easy to follow along and learn the mindfulness practice, making it easy to remember for future reference as a tool in a time of need,” notesAva Dussault, Co-Founder of 2 Mindful Girls and Flow and Grow Kids Yoga Training Graduate and Social Media Manager.
Lara gives you permission to come as you are to the practice: never assuming priorknowledge, offering modifications, and reminding you that you can always come back and try again. She makes clear thatyou-- yes you -- deserve to experience what mindfulness can offer, no matter who you are or what your job is or anything of the sort. For anyone feeling like they don’t have time for mindfulness, “the best part about this book is that most of the activities can be done in under 5 minutes,” Ava explains.
Lara sets a strong foundation before she shares any of these exercises, describing essential aspects of what mindfulness is and myth-busting what it’s not -- therein helping readers come to the rest of the book with a clearer and more accurate understanding of the practice. She also shares what mindfulness has meant in her life. Personal stories are powerful, and it could compel readers to read on further; what could it mean for them?
From there, the book is split into three clear sections of exercises to include in one’s morning, day, night -- for greater focus, calm, harmony in interpersonal relationships, and joy in life’s little treasures. “All of these activities can definitely be adapted to any part of the day, but I enjoy picking different activities to practice at different parts in my day,” Ava says.
Lara Hocheiser with her book -- now available for pre-order!
The morning section includes simple breathwork and gentleasana practice. I used to do breathwork upon waking up, but with life changes and general busyness I fell out of it. Lara has inspired me to get back to that! I’ve also recently started to do shortasanapractices in the morning. I can attest that it can bring a greater sense of calm energy -- allowing me to move through the rest of my day with more energy, but also ease and equanimity.
I also love the guidance that Lara offers in creating a space with objects that are meaningful to you -- religiously, spiritually, or simply emotionally -- a space she guides readers to come back to in later exercises, as one of consistent, dependable calm. Exercises such as mindful eating and bathing can allow us to begin our days appreciating all of the sensory wonder available in everyday activities, which we too often miss with our minds caught up in to-do lists and worries.
The exercises Lara shares for the daytime appear crucial for what our days look like in the twenty-first century -- hectically trying to fit in more than we did the last day, attached to our devices, and (somehow) simultaneously frenzied and drained of energy. She gives tools for more mindful internet use and accomplishing singular tasks with full attention. Exercises such as focusing our attention from a singular point to a wider view, finding joy in accomplishing even seemingly small tasks, and taking a mindful midday walk are guidance in giving our systems (including mind, body, and spirit) the rest and recharge we may need to do and feel our best for the rest of the day.
The section shifting into night seems guided by a key principle, one Lara articulates -- shifting from "doing to being." The phrase “we’re human beings, not human doings” is not a new one, and it holds an important idea for today’s world. At the same time, we do achieve and accomplish -- and it’s okay to take pride in what we do. We doandwe are. With that simple phrase, Lara encourages us to hold space for both in our lives.
Simple gestures help us to shift from “doing” to “being”, Lara describes -- something as simple as getting out of the clothes of the day’s work and into clothes for the night. Journaling can facilitate reflection on and leaving behind the hustle and bustle of the day, so that you can experience more restful sleep. Gentle yoga can help release pent-up energy and tension, preparing the body to rest.
The book includes many, many exercises for the morning, day, and night (but is an engaging and quick read -- I completed it within a few hours!). One might at first wonder where to start. Yet, just like in yoga and mindfulness and yoga practice itself, that’s part of the wonder of it all; there’s enough there for you to take what serves you and leave behind the rest.
Lara Hocheiser’sMindfulness for Beginners in Ten Minutes a Day: Mindful Moments to Bring Clarity and Calm to your Morning, Day, and Night demonstrates that mindfulness practice will look different for each individual, and there is a mindfulness practice for each of us. We just have to come to it -- again and again. It will always be there for us.