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We often talk about mindfulness experts, but what does it mean to be an expert in mindfulness? Needless to say, there are many different kinds of people who are highly knowledgeable in the field: researchers, teachers, practitioners who have maintained their practice over decades…

Yet, at the same time, we can really only become experts of our own present-moment experience. No matter how much we’ve studied or how long we’ve meditated, there’s no pressure in mindfulness to attain or perfect anything. We’re human: We all get distracted, we all make mistakes, and these are just reminders to begin once again. That means the goal isn’t necessarily to become an expert, but to remain a beginner, in mind and heart. Even after doing the “same” practice thousands of times, you can always discover something new.  

Feel at home in your starting place with these three foundational mindfulness practices:

1) First, take your seat. This daily practice helps us realign our attention whenever we need to. “Our emotions can take us off course, our circumstances can, too, and mindfulness practice can help us to re-establish ourselves,” says Barry Boyce. Tune in to your physical posture and your breathing with this 8-minute practice.

2) Then, bring awareness to your body. Mindfulness: It’s not all in your head! “We’re practicing mindfulness each time that we bring attention to a body part and are aware that we are doing so,” says Tara Healey. In this 10-minute guided body scan, you let your attention flow upward from your toes, simply noting what comes up in the body without judgment.

3) Next, offer yourself some loving-kindness. “We can spend a lot of our time reaching out to other people and trying to help others,” says Andres Gonzalez. “But in order to be giving, we need to be nourished ourselves.” Try this 12-minute meditation for cultivating the same positive wishes for yourself that you have for the people around you.

From Mindful Editors

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