Mindfulness 101: what is mindfulness, anyway?

Welcome to the first of a series of blog posts that step by step will introduce you to the most basic aspects of mindfulness and creating a personal mindfulness practice. 

And although mindfulness is first and foremost a practice, something that needs to be experienced, it doesn't hurt to have a basic theoretical understanding of what it is. 

As with all practices that have evolved over multiple generations you won't be able to find one coherent answer to the question of what mindfulness is, so in the following paragraphs we will introduce how we understand and look at mindfulness from a YOMI perspective:

Mindfulness stems from buddhism and is an ancient meditation practice, but also a sort of guidance through life that emphasises the now, the moment that exists in the present. Or as we might better understand it in our everyday lives: that which we're constantly missing as we're busy planning or worrying about the future, or ruminating over the past. 

There are various definitions of mindfulness, what it is and what it entails. Rather than trying to find consensus amongst these, we have in YOMI chosen to define mindfulness as the following: "the state of being present in each given moment; adapting a non-judging, exploring, trusting and patient approach; and being aware of thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations - altogether making it possible to cultivate compassion and acceptance towards oneself and others". 

What this somewhat lengthy and academic definition means can be broken down into two main parts: 

1. Being consciously present, aware of one's thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. In other words, being in the present moment. 

2. Adapting a non-judging, accepting and compassionate approach towards oneself as well as others. In other words, being open-minded and kind. 

Simple as that. Or rather, simple in theory, but most times way harder to apply in real life. But really, that's it, that's what you now can start exploring and practicing everyday for the rest of your life. Sometimes embodying that mindful, accepting presence, but pretty likely just as often finding yourself on the verge of a breakdown after having had your thoughts wander of for the zillionth time during your meditation session. 

In the next Mindfulness 101 we will start looking into some simple (but again, oh, yet sometimes so hard) tools and exercises to get you started on your mindful path.