I am often asked what mindfulness is and what it means to be mindful. As a yoga teacher I always encourage my students to be mindful both in and out the studio. Practicing mindfulness helps you become more aware of your body and your mind, helps you become calm, relaxed and allows you to think more clearly.

So what is mindfulness? And what does it mean to be mindful? Mindfulness is bringing awareness to what you do and how you do it. By going a little slower and being aware of what you are doing you can think more clearly, make better decisions, feel calmer, have stronger relationships with others, and feel better in your own body.

I teach mindfulness to kids, teens and adults in yoga and aerial yoga and I find the best place to start is always the breath. By becoming aware of your breathing and how you breathe you can begin to control your breath and still the mind.

ONE: Lengthen your exhale

Need a moment of peace and quiet? You can practice this breathing exercise at your desk, in a supermarket aisle or at school drop off. Close your eyes (if possible!) and start to focus on your breath. Breath in and out through your nose. If you lose concentration, bring your mind back to your breath. When you are ready, start to extend and lengthen your exhale. Taking slow, deep breaths in through your nose and then slow, long breaths all the way out your nose. Try focus on your breath for a couple of minutes and then notice how you are feeling. Perhaps a little more relaxed and self-aware?

TWO: Belly breaths

This is a great way to feel your breath and create breath and body awareness. Stand, sit or lie down and place your hands on your belly. Close your eyes and start to feel your breath coming in and out though your nose. Feel your belly rise and fall as you breathe deeply down into your tummy and slowly out through your nose.

THREE: Focus on your senses

This is a great one to practice when you are at home or out and about. You can do it after a run, when you are stuck in traffic or when you have a moment of quiet to yourself. I find it easiest when I am in nature – in a park, by the ocean or in my garden. Start by sitting, standing or lying down. Close your eyes and begin to breath in and out through your nose. The next step is to begin to focus on one of your senses, such as feeling the wind on your skin, smelling freshly cut grass or hearing waves crash onto the sand. By focussing on one sense at a time you are able to create awareness of your body, you are able to concentrate and focus on your surroundings and you are able to become mindful of how you are feeling.

FOUR: Body awareness

Do you exercise listening to music? Here is a mini challenge: next time you go for a run do it WITHOUT music. Try focus on what your body is doing and what your mind is doing as you run. Notice how your body moves in space, which muscles are be strengthened, stretched and lengthened and notice how it makes you feel. This is a great way to create connection with your body.

FIVE: Go tech-free and forget the time

I recently went on a meditation retreat where we were encouraged to turn our smartphones off for the weekend. I quickly realised how often I pick up and look at my smartphone to check the time, look at messages, check my social media accounts as well as my emails. It confirmed my what I have recently been thinking, just how much time I, and I am sure others, waste by procrastinating and using my smartphone without thinking. One of the most influential lessons this experience reminded me of, was how important it is to switch off technology and focus on the now.

Need a moment of peace and quiet? Need to focus on yourself and no one else?

Put down your phone, turn it off, and have some tech-free time in nature. Try go for a slow walk around the block to your local park, beach or nature reserve. Perhaps take off your shoes, smell the trees or the ocean and take a few deep breaths! Allow yourself the freedom and the time to just be you.

So what are you waiting for!? I dare you to try practice being mindful next time you are out and about.

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Larry is a highly skilled physiotherapist who specialises in treating back and neck pain, postural issues and scoliosis. He is certified in Schroth and SEAS methods and through the Egoscue University. Larry has a background in elite gymnastics and springboard diving and also has many years experience in endurance running and triathlons. His specialist knowledge and techniques have seen him appointed as a gymnastics coach and physiotherapist at both the Olympics Games and Special Olympics.

His passion and driving philosophy is about achieving the best outcomes for his patients utilising an amalgam of the latest techniques and theories while recognising there may sometimes be a need for invasive procedures. Where deemed appropriate Larry will then refer to a specialist. To further his holistic understanding and approach, Larry is currently undertaking a Ph.D. in Spinal Deformity and regularly attends and speaks at international conferences and courses and clinics.

Fun fact: Larry is learning how to surf - so be careful next time you go to the beach! Qualifications: B.Sc (Physiotherapy); M.Sc. (Exercise Physiology); Advanced Certificates in Schroth (BSPTS) and Egoscue (PAS) and SEAS Larry is Level II certified (advanced) in the conservative treatment of Scoliosis based on the Schroth method. The training was conducted by Dr Manuel Rigo of the Barcelona School at Scoliosis Rehab Inc in Wisconsin. He has completed his SEAS scoliosis treatment training at ISICO in Milan. Larry has also spent time working with Dr Rigo in the Barcelona clinic. Larry also has advanced certificates in shoulder treatment, posture alignment therapy and acupuncture.