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GENERAL MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
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QUICK TIPS FOR STUDENTS
This is a brief introduction to a series of simple yoga postures. You should wear loose, comfortable clothing, and use a yoga mat or a towel. These postures will provide you with an experience of gentle muscle toning and stretching as you become more attuned to bodily sensations. Yoga is a practice of "mindfulness in motion" and so embodies the attitudes of non-judgmental presence and self-acceptance. Listen to your body, and only go as far as you feel comfortable with any exercise. Discontinue the exercise if you feel pain or extreme discomfort, and seek the guidance of a certified yoga instructor before pursuing this practice further.
This guided meditation is an introduction to cultivating mindful awareness in your life. The exercise focuses on bringing nonjudgemental, moment-to-moment attention to each part of the body. The key to this practice is to maintain an accepting attitude, gently noticing and letting go of thoughts, criticisms, or self-judgements.
Many people find that this exercise helps them become more relaxed right away, while others find that they become aware of sensations they hadn't noticed before. Over time, regular practice can help reduce anxiety, manage panic and other uncomfortable physical sensations, improve sleep problems, cultivate self-acceptance of the body, and deepen concentration and mindfulness.
Sitting meditation is the most basic mindfulness practice. Though the instructions are very simple, the practice can be difficult. This exercise will guide you in a brief experience of the basic practice of sitting meditation. Find a comfortable seat in a place where you will not be distracted. Sit on a chair or on the floor (a cushion or meditation bench is recommended), with your back upright and unsupported, if possible. The first half of the exercise presents guided meditation instructions. The last 7 minutes are silent. The meditation session ends with the ringing of a chime.
An essential component to mindfulness is an attitude of kindness, or unconditional friendliness. This traditional guided meditation is based on the idea that we all possess some degree of kindness, and by focuses on the kind feelings we already have, we can increasingly expand and cultivate our ability to experience our kind heart towards ourselves, people in our lives, and, ultimately, all beings. At first the phrases in this meditation may feel artificial or awkward. Alternatively, you may feel strong emotions, or you may feel nothing at all. Try to stay with the practice with a nonjudgmental attitude of open curiosity, and see what happens. As you become comfortable with the practice, you can try extending loving kindness spontaneously to people you meet throughout your day - e.g. friends, family members co-workers, people you pass in the street, people in the other cars at a red light, or the cashier at the grocery store.