Go to a typical gym, and you'll find most people wearing headsets. Their minds are somewhere else.
At GateWay, our goal is to be fully awake, fully present and fully in touch with our physical selves. Everything we teach is designed to put people in touch with their breath and their bodies. On this page, several of our instructors offer their thoughts on mindfulness, and the role it plays in their classes. Note that we offer morning meditation sessions on Tuesdays and Fridays at 7:30am, a great opportunity to practice mindfulness and get helpful tips from experienced meditators.
Liz Korabek-Emerson, Meditation Leader & Trainer
"Mindfulness is the ability to be with things just the way they are; that is, our minds, bodies and life situations. It is not about having any specific experience, it is about understanding our experience. The practice is to know that you are breathing when you are breathing, sitting when you are sitting and feeling when you are feeling. When we bring the mind into the present, it begins to have an alternative to the habitual thought patterns that color our experience. And having more choices in how we respond and view ourselves, others and our life situation gives us a sense of spaciousness and clarity."
Sherry Evans, Yoga Instructor
"Mindfulness is walking through life with your eyes wide open. We can become twisted in our thoughts, allowing the mind to take us places that do not serve us. Ill health can develop due to our stressful lives. By quieting the mind through the breath, we give ourselves the opportunity to relax and let go. Even an inconsistent practice of steady, deep, conscience breathing is enough of a pause to begin the reset of the whirring, worrying, judgmental mind.
"Yoga combined with meditation guides you to focus inward and connect with your true self and inner wisdom. Yoga means to unite, to yoke. We strive to connect the mind, the body and the spirit and to rediscover our inner wisdom and our unique path to clarity. All the answers are held within; our challenge is to listen. And that requires stillness, kindness, gentleness and solitude, all of which can be found via mindfulness.The ability to heal is inside of you. Seek the connection of the mind, the body and the spirit. As the connection strengthens a sense of your power and truth jumps forth. Walk with intention. Notice the birds; the wind in the trees; the air you breathe. In your steadiness, your mindful awareness of your surroundings, you will be able to greet each day with confidence and eagerness. The gift of a mindful life allows you to be present each and every moment and to acknowledge those around you with wholehearted compassion."
Slavic Popov-Meinhold, Yoga Instructor
"Mindfulness is a great tool and gift that yoga offers to everyone who is willing to pursue a regular yoga practice. As a yoga teacher, I focus on creating an opportunity for every student to be present, focused, connected with his/hers own body/mind. Yoga is much more than a physical practice and benefits of mindfulness translate directly into the life off the mat."
Bill Buckley, Taiji, Qigong & Yoga Instructor
"Mindfulness is quite simply the practice of becoming aware. At GateWay, use a wonderful array of physical and meditative exercises to heighten that awareness. In yoga classes, we scan our bodies for sensation, actively coordinate breath and movement, and bring attention to our posture and alignment. In our taiji and qigong classes, we use a variety of physical and mental techniques to feel, build and channel qi (the Chinese word for energy). Once you learn to focus the mind, you can learn to move the qi wherever you want to go. Mindfulness is the first step in that process.
"In our martial arts classes (taiji, pushing hands and Shotokan) we use mindfulness to focus and concentrate power and make us more aware of our opponent. There's a classic saying in the martial arts: "Know yourself and not your opponent and you can win 50% of the time. Know neither and lose 100%. Know both and you can win 100%." Mindfulness allows you to know yourself - and be more aware of your environment.
"The benefits of mindfulness extend into every aspect of our lives. The ability to concentrate and focus has been repeatedly proven to dramatically improve both the quality of our work and overall productivity. Being fully present in our interactions with others greatly enhances communication and understanding, and leads to deeper, more satisfying relationships. Recent scientific studies of children reveal that mindfulness and meditation exercises are effective in calming kids down, reducing ADHD symptoms, improving their math scores, increasing their self-control and making them kinder and less aggressive toward their peers. Talk about a miracle drug!"
Mindful Practices for Controlling Pain
Two recently re-published articles by Harvard Medical School tout the benefits of mindfulness, meditation, yoga and taiji for controlling pain and improving both physical and mental health. Check them out - and join us at GateWay, where we pursue these practices for fun as well as health.