Shambhala Sun | July 2013
THICH NHAT HANH offers three exercises for well-being.
Mindfulness is our ability to be aware of what is going on
both inside us and around us. It is the continuous awareness of our bodies,
emotions, and thoughts. Through mindfulness, we avoid harming ourselves and
others, and we can work wonders. If we live mindfully in everyday life, walk
mindfully, are full of love and caring, then we create a miracle and
transform the world into a wonderful place. Clarity flows from mindfulness.
When we are mindful, we can practice right thinking and right speech. With the
energy of mindfulness, we can always return to our true home, the present
The practice of mindfulness encompasses all spheres and
activities, including ordinary actions and our every breath. We often assume
breathing is just a natural skill; everyone knows how to inhale and exhale. But
breathing is a miracle. Being aware of our breath not only helps us manage the
difficulties in everyday life, it also helps develop our wisdom and compassion.
We can sit and breathe, but it is just as important to practice mindful
breathing while we are moving.
Life is a path, but life is not about getting to a certain
place. The mindful movements that follow are a way to practice moving without a
goal or intention. They are a wonderful way of connecting your mind and body in
mindfulness. When you do them, please enjoy each part of each movement. Do what
you can. They are not like aerobics, where you have to move as quickly as
possible. There is no need to rush. When I do them, I find I cannot help
smiling. I hope they bring you joy.
Read Thich Nhat Hanh's instructions for "Earth and Sky," "Be Like a Flower," and "Leg Circles," inside our July magazine.
Adapted from Mindful Movements: Ten Exercises for Well-Being,
by Thich Nhat Hanh, with permission of Parallax Press.
Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh is the author of many books,
including Buddha Mind, Buddha Body: Walking Toward Enlightenment.
Drawing: Vietske Vriezen