Exercise 1: The Log
Notice this log. Be aware of thoughts and feelings that come up on looking at it?
Be ready to accept that these thoughts and feelings exist in your mind. You can choose to let these thoughts and feelings drift by and continue with the exercise…
Remain focused on the log and look around it – take in the details remaining alert.
You may now see things that you didn’t notice when you first looked, e.g. the small green plant with a yellow flower growing in the shadow, the grainy cracks in the log itself or that the log is nestled within a sand dune.
You have now just practiced mindfulness!
Exercise 2: Balance
Consider the photo above and choose one of the three images.
Try to focus on this image taking in the detail. Be aware of the other photos however draw your mind back to focus on your chosen image.
Sit in an upright position, straighten your back, drop your shoulders, and allow the air to expire from your lungs. Now sense your lungs filling up again naturally.
Remain focussed on your chosen image. Now close your eyes and try to picture the same image in your mind, creating the detail that you noted before.
Keep the focus on your mind’s image as you notice your breathing – allowing any intruding thoughts or feelings to come and go. Try to maintain this alertness for about a minute and relax.
Well done. How do you feel now?
Exercise 3: Water
Consider this photo putting yourself into the picture wading through the water.
Remain focussed on this scene sitting in a comfortable position.
Be aware of the surroundings in the scene allowing any other thoughts to come and go.
For this moment, try to feel what it would be like to be there…the water around your feet and ankles, the sun shining on you, the sound of the waves in the distance.
What if you wanted to go and relax on the sandbar ahead. Imagine yourself doing just that and remain there closing your eyes for a moment… taking your mind to this place – feeling the sensations all around you. Open your eyes after you sense that you have been there.
Now dropping your shoulders, take a deep breath counting 1 to 6, then hold it for the count of 3, and expire for another count of 6. Repeat this process another three times for a minute.
You have now completed a brief meditation incorporating mindfulness and relaxation.
Exercise 4: Sky
Look at this image for about a minute and notice what thoughts come up in your mind.
You may have a feeling of vertigo – falling from the sky… or you may have a feeling of soaring above the clouds… Whatever thoughts and feelings you have – acknowledge them, perhaps name them and remain focussed on the image.
Sit in a comfortable position and take time to ground yourself: press your feet into the floor, keep your back straight, drop your shoulders and let the air expire from your lungs.
As you feel your lungs expanding, close your eyes and feel yourself flying in those clouds. Imagine yourself slowly going down and landing safely on the ground. Feeling the rushing wind against your skin as you descend. Remain silent now sensing all that you can imagine around you and be calm.
Exercise 5: Hammock on the beach
Imagine that you wish to have a power nap and picture your mind in this image… sitting in a comfortable position, being aware of your breathing.
The hammock between the palm trees looks inviting. In your mind place yourself lying there in the hammock and taking in the sounds around you… the waves coming into the shore, the rustle of palm leaves in the wind, the creaking sway of the tree trunks, birds chirping in the distance, and anything else you can imagine.
Close your eyes now. Hopefully you are now lying there in the hammock in your mind… restful and accepting for this moment relaxing in that place feeling restful. Remain there for a few minutes. Take yourself back to where you are now alert to your breathing – ready for your next task in reality.
Exercise 6: sand, wind and waves
Imagine that you have been walking down to the beach in this photo. You have no time restrictions. The stone cairns tell you that you have not lost your way.
Feel the wind blowing against your face and the sun shining on your head and body. Try to imagine walking down to the sandy beach where you take off your shoes (so be bare footed for this exercise). Imagine walking along the sand and hearing the waves coming into shore, the birds in the background and the calmness of being there on your own free from hassles.
Find a spot to sit down on a rock and relax. Push your feet into the sand, straighten your back, drop your shoulders, and push all the air out of your lungs. Now breathe in the fresh sea air, holding it for a few seconds and breathe out again. Try this a few times as you sit there and feel all the senses of being in this place.
Close your eyes after reading this and capture the image in your mind.
Exercise 7: The lookout
Imagine that you are sitting inside the Cairns Skyrail cable car from where this photo is taken.
Ground yourself where you are sitting: Straighten your back, push your feet into the floor, and drop your shoulders, releasing all the air out your lungs. Now slowly breathe deeply in then out… taking in the scene before you.
Notice the coastline and the distant mountains. Notice the waterways and roads on the flats… try to follow one of these with your eyes, noticing what you might be seeing along its course.
Now notice the many rainforest trees below the cable car route. Try to point out different varieties of tree tops as your scan the complexity of the green colours.
Now imagine the cable car descending down the cable over the tree tops, closing your eyes try to feel what it would be like sitting there experiencing the movement of the cable car. Keep imagining the descent until you have alighted at the bottom. Remember to breathe.
Practice some deep breathing before you finish this exercise.
You may wish to try the Skills Sets having completed the exercises.