• Formal Practice
  • Informal Practice
  • Awareness

Focused Awareness

Referred to as Breath meditation or Following the Breath, Focused Awareness is often used as a baseline meditation practice for mindfulness.

Close attention to the breath can bring us to the present moment, whenever we choose. Because the breath is so sensitive to stress and emotional reactivity, a focus on our breath has the potential to reveal a great deal about us.

For example, when we experience fear or panic, we often hold our breath. Feeling anxious will often constrict our breathing. How we relate to our breath becomes an embodied metaphor for how we relate to our living.

In breath-awareness meditation, posture is important. A relaxed, upright, erect posture allows the breath to flow freely while reflecting a quality of awareness that supports the practice. This lends itself to a clear, relaxed awareness – in contrast to postures like slouching or rigidity which tend to reinforce inattention, sleepiness or agitation.

Body Scan

The term mindfulness is often misunderstood as being a purely mental discipline. But mindfulness meditation is fundamentally a somatic, or body-oriented practice. Focusing our attention on bodily sensations, from one moment to the next, anchors our awareness in physical phenomena occurring in the present moment.

Through the body scan, we can investigate the mind-body connection. We may begin to notice how conditioned, reactive judging, and muscle contraction, stiffening, and bracing happen simultaneously. The judging and aversion and the tightening and contracting of the musculature are the same movements of the mind, inclusive of thoughts, emotional reactions, physical reactions, and sensations in the body.

With the body scan, we can also experience letting go as an integrated mind-body experience, and an experience of emotional and physical release at once.


Loving-Kindness meditation develops radical acceptance, or open-heartedness, which requires us to be equally partial to each moment, whatever its contents. This is typically done by concentrating on a particular object, repetition of phrases, and visualization.

The object becomes completely absorbed in the experience and expression of the intentions stated in the phrases, while focusing on the energies of loving-kindness. Part of the practice also involves noting physical or emotional sensations that indicate resistance, including contracting, tightening, or bracing in the heart space.

Radical acceptance allows for maximum clarity of perception in each moment because perception isn’t distorted by conditioned judgment, aversion, or grasping. Seeing the present moment clearly allows for optimally skillful response in the next moment, which increases the likelihood of creating adventitious suffering. In this way, loving-kindness, or radical acceptance, is actually extremely practical.

Loving-kindness is particularly helpful for people who struggle with agitation, restlessness, obsessive self-judgment, rumination, or worry during mindfulness meditation.

Just Like Me

Just Like Me encourages connection, acceptance and forgiveness. According to Pema Chodron:

“It is a simple human truth that everyone, just like you, wants to be happy and to avoid suffering. Just like you, everyone else wants to have friends, to be accepted and loved, to be respected and valued for their unique qualities, to be healthy and to feel comfortable with themselves. Just like you, no one else wants to be friendless and alone, to be looked down upon by others, to be sick, to feel inadequate and depressed.

The practice is simply to remember this fact whenever you meet another person. You think, ‘Just like me, she wants to be happy; she doesn’t want to suffer. This humbles us, because it shines a spotlight on our habit of thinking that we are the center of the world. When we acknowledge our shared humanity with another person, we connect with them in a surprisingly intimate way. They become like family to us, and this helps dissolve our isolation and aloneness.”

Sitting Mountain

Sitting Mountain uses visualization to cultivate equanimity and strengthen our capacity to remain fully present and undisturbed in the midst of change and disruption.

Equanimity reflects trust in ourself; our acceptance of impermanence and change; our skill in relating to change; and the willingness to let go of attachments to things we cannot control.

The Sitting Mountain meditation is an intentional, experiential metaphor for equanimity. Through practice, we’re able to access the mountain image whenever it serves to reconnect with the experience of solidly grounded, non-judgmental acceptance

Section 1

Empty section. Edit page to add content here.

Section 2

Empty section. Edit page to add content here.