With mindfulness, you can’t go wrong!

Sit or lie in the way that is best for you to be present.  

| 4 Minute Read |

I can’t sit in the lotus position. Actually, I can’t sit in any position that is even distantly related to the lotus. If I do get down on the floor (rarely easily or silently), it can be quite the workout getting back up again. This has been the case for quite some years, even when I’ve been relatively fit. Until recently, it was a bit of a mental barrier for me fully leaning in to mindfulness.

What an idiot. As if how I sit was going to dictate the benefits I might get! I do place the blame for this very long-held, and clearly silly, belief at the door of a poorly qualified meditation instructor. Running a meditation session as one of many offerings at a spa (which they don’t do now), the very determined and bossy class tutor singled me out for “sitting the wrong way,” and I was so busy feeling embarrassed and angry with her that I couldn’t have had a less tranquil experience—the very opposite of mindful.

And so the story of “wrong way” began. In the years since, I have dabbled with various meditation and mindfulness practices. The wish to experience a mindfulness retreat grew over time, but always stopped when I pictured everyone else sitting the “right way” and my shameful lack of ability clear for all to see!

Then a strange thing happened to us all, we found ourselves in a world navigating a pandemic. Everything changed, all the usual rules were suspended. Mindfulness training and retreats went online! And so, I signed up for an 8-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction workshop.

One of the first things my mindfulness instructor said when we had our kick-off session, “there is no wrong way to do this – it’s about finding the right way for you”. Hurrah! No longer would I be singled out for my lack of bendiness. Instead, I could focus on exactly what I came to do – learn some new practices to improve my wellbeing.

“Yesterday’s history, tomorrow a mystery, today is a gift – that why it’s called the present!” Kung Fu Panda

My feeling of “this is the course for me” increased further when the class guide included a quote from the Kung Fu Panda character alongside the quotes from Mark Twain and others.

Each week, for 8 weeks, our online class worked through practices and reflections together. In addition to the highly engaging and experienced instructor, the class was made up of a lovely group of people who had varying levels of experience with mindfulness and were all there for different reasons. I found great comfort in hearing experiences, challenges and reactions, which helped me really believe that there is no wrong way to do this.

I’d already been doing quite a bit of work on ‘being present’, on using breathing techniques, and I’d been using the Headspace app quite regularly (an excellent starting point for mindfulness when a beginner). I did have a real challenge with my wandering mind, it consistently kept tripping me up. Then my tutor completely reframed the moments where I would usually abandon my practice, “Call back your wandering mind as you would a beloved pet who wanders off too far”. Game changer! Suddenly it wasn’t “wrong” to have a wandering mind – it was to be expected.

No need to restart or give up when your mind wanders – just beckon your mind back and keep going.

The second game-changer moment came when we really focussed on our breathing. I’ve always known the power of your breath to bring you ‘into the now’. What got in the way for me was the counting of breath and breathing in a particular way. I would get so tied up in not doing the breathing the “right way” that I’d end up as frustrated and annoyed as I was the day of that first meditation class. It doesn’t feel great to “fail” at breathing. I can’t begin to tell you the joy I felt being told,

Just breathe naturally and normally – no need to count.

One of my very favourite spots to sit and think – the first place I practiced mindfulness outside of a class or a guided meditation

The third and final standout moment for me – sit or lie in the way that’s most comfortable for you, being aware that lying down increases the chance of falling asleep! To be doing multiple practices in a comfortable chair, in a relaxing position only increased my ability to focus on the moment – not on the cramp I might be getting in my left calf muscle!

Sit or lie in the way that is best for you to be present.

From these simple but important shifts, I was able to really commit to the practices, and in the weeks and months ahead I’ll be delighted to share with you some of those which have really helped. From mindful walks, keeping out of autopilot, focussing the scattered mind, the stress reaction cycle, thoughts are not facts, and through to the very powerful practice of acceptance.

I’d also love to hear your own experiences and maybe even challenges with mindfulness – it’s not always easy – so perhaps you’d like to join our Behind the Hashtag private Facebook group


Next Steps

The course I took was Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at www.londonmindful.com

MBSR was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn – I’ve previously reviewed his book, you can read that here.



1 reply
  1. Griggsy says:

    I’ve been practicing too but my mind wanders a lot. I try to focus on my breathing and then I don’t seem to breath naturally. My mind is like a running faucet with creative ideas, thoughts, what to do the next minute, grocery store list, the past, dreams. I struggle with quieting my mind.


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