For those who are skeptical about whether they’ll get into mindfulness, what are some of the benefits you see in everyday life?
Mindfulness is simply paying attention to the present moment, there’s nothing more to it. When we take a moment to understand that ‘being mindful’ is to be aware of the situation, circumstances and occurrences that are happening, when they’re happening. Being presently aware, without judging or comparing is the essence of the practice. Ultimately, for anyone willing to try the benefits are immediate and meaningful, you’ll feel engaged, you’ll hear more, notice more and really feel a sense of living in real time. Sadly these day’s we’re all victims of trying to do too much, this practice really helps us slow down and do one thing at a time, not everything all at once.
Mindfulness is about more than meditation. Can you explain the other ways you’re able to be mindful throughout the day?
Meditation is simply a practice or technique of mindfulness. Mindfulness is an approach to how you spend your time and attention. To live mindfully is to choose to give you attention intentionally, and allow the experience and moments you have to be fully aware and meaningful.
So many people look to you for inspiration. Where does yours come from?
For me I find that inspiration doesn’t have a single origin, it comes from anywhere and everyone. I find that inspiration is first an attitude to how you see the world around you, if you allow yourself to be interested, to notice more, to imagine, then inspiration will, and can come from anywhere. I find that inspiration is the result of being open and willing to engage with the world, and people around us every single day.
When it comes to mindfulness, where do you find is often the best place to start?
I find that the best way to start, is to stop. Stop trying to do everything, stop trying to do so much. Being mindful is first a mindset and then from there it’s about learning and understanding more. There are some great apps to get you started, local classes and easy programmes to help you on the way.
What’s the biggest barrier people have when trying to adopt mindfulness into their day-to-day and how can they overcome it?
We live in a culture where we glorify being busy, this has to be the first thing to change. Being busy doesn’t equate to success and once this changes people’s mentality and perceived value of rest and mindful practice will become more meaningful. The best advice I can give anyone, is find a reason to do less, find a reason to turn the volume down on your day and you’ll feel and notice the benefits in a huge way.
What are the best apps to help with mindfulness and why?
We have launched our own mindfulness and meditation app called JUST BREATHE, on it are simple guided meditations to help ease you into a quieter state. Give it a try, it’s available on all platforms to download!
City life can be hectic. What are the best venues, experiences available that people can take advantage of?
In a busy city like London finding a quiet place is essential. For some of us it’s green space, of a quiet evening at home, other’s it’s a local yoga or meditation class, like the new Quiet Room our Just Breathe team designed for Third Space. Ultimately, anywhere that give you a sense of calm and ease is ideal.
Personally I like to head to a yoga class, or jump onto the float tanks down in Borough or spend a few hours in a museum or theatre space where quiet is the norm.
How and why did mindfulness come into your life?
I like to think that I was a mindful child; introverted, well studied, who enjoyed time alone and out in nature. As I got older I found these practices through yoga, meditation and a strong wellness community in Los Angeles. I was lucky that I first experienced these practice growing up, but now as an adult I’m so grateful that I have the tools & techniques to support living in a busy society and city like London.
Is it possible to be mindful for just 5 minutes?
Mindfulness lives in every moment, it’s not dictated by the length of time rather it’s the continuation of consistent presence and attention for an extended period of time (that was a mouthful). In short, yes, you can be mindful for a minute, you can be mindful for a whole day, ultimately it’s the practice of dedicated intention and attention, without judgement. Give it a try, and even 5 mindful minutes a day will have a big impact on your wellbeing.
Can you explain the positive relationship between mindfulness and yoga?
These practices are two sides to the same coin, both are about attention and connection with ourselves and the world around us. Mindfulness and meditation are an approach and practice of stillness and quiet, while yoga has method and technique to the physical connection. For most, yoga is a practice of postures and movement, and mindfulness and meditation is a seated practice, but at the end of the day, they have far more in common, than different, and both are at the core of finding a sense of ease and calm in the body and mind.
Breathing is such a simple thing, but why has it become such an important thing to focus on in modern life?
We have become a society that easily forgets, and the breath is one of these things. Breathing is one of the most natural and essential things in our life, it’s what gives us life, but for so many it’s unconscious and automatic, but if we take the time to focus and connect, the breath has the ability to empower so much more of our body and mind. Remember, without breath, nothing works, so we’re in the phase now where we must return to remembering the importance of the breath, and then live life from there.
CLICK HERE for two 8 minute meditations created exclusively for Third Space by Michael James Wong