Advanced Mindfulness Exercises

Written by Tele Demetrious


PhysioAdvisor’s Mindfulness Series

Advanced Mindfulness Exercises‘ is the seventh article in our mindful series.

We suggest you read our mindfulness articles systematically to improve your knowledge and practise of mindfulness. Here’s the first article in our progressive series – ‘What is Mindfulness‘. Advanced Mindfulness Exercises - Mindfulness in Nature

Advanced Mindfulness Exercises

For advanced Mindfulness practitioners, aim to practise at least one mindfulness exercise, 1 – 2 times per day for around 5 – 60 minutes (daily total), on all or most days of the week. Of course, the most important mindfulness exercise begins when you have finished any formal practise. Incorporate mindfulness into your everyday life by giving your complete attention (via heightened sensory awareness) to whatever you are doing or wherever you are in each moment. Pay particular attention to mundane activities. Discover how it feels to give your complete attention to seemingly insignificant activities. Make the present moment your home and primary dwelling place. Instead of being lost in thought as your usual state of mind, use your mind to deal with the practical aspects of daily living, then come back to fully attending to the present moment.

Mindfulness of Thoughts

Begin this exercise by sitting or lying on your back in optimal posture.

Awareness of Thoughts


Practise for 3 – 20 minutes in each session and repeat 1 – 3 times per day. Once your practise period is complete, remember to bring the awareness you have cultivated into each moment of your daily life. Listen to Jon Kabat Zinn talk about mindfulness and how it dissolves thoughts.

Mindfulness of Feelings and Emotions

This mindfulness exercise is designed to bring unconditional acceptance and awareness to your feelings and emotions in the present moment. This is an essential aspect of processing our emotions and allowing healing and transformation to take place (particularly when we’re stuck in a cycle of negative emotions).

Understanding Emotions

Our emotions are usually our body’s response to our thinking. For example if we’re lying in bed at night thinking and worrying about a talk we have to do tomorrow, we may feel the emotions of worry or anxiety (even though our environment is very peaceful).

Feeling is Healing & What You Resist Persists

When we’re feeling uncomfortable negative emotions in our body, a common response is to resist them and want them to go away (i.e. non-acceptance). This resistance creates further subconscious unhappiness about our existing emotion (which is already present and inevitable). This in turn perpetuates the initial negative emotion. Resisting or suppressing one or more emotions is like holding helium balloons under the water and trying to stop them from surfacing. It’s certainly a lot easier to step back and allow the splash to occur as the balloons surface and fly away into the open sky. Holding an emotion in awareness and feeling it without judgement is an important component of allowing it to pass. For particularly strong emotions from past trauma, pain, suffering or great loss, you should discuss the suitability of this exercise with an appropriate professional (e.g. psychologist) before performing this exercise.

Beginning the Exercise

To begin this exercise lie on your back or sit in optimal posture.

Focus on Feelings

Holding out the Welcome Mat

Practise advanced mindfulness exercises for around 3 – 20 minutes in each session or for as long as is comfortable. Repeat 1 – 3 times per day. Once your practise period is complete, remember to bring the awareness you have cultivated into each moment of your daily life.

Awareness of Awareness

Most mindfulness exercises entail maintaining awareness of a sensation or form that exists in the present moment. This may include awareness of: All of these objects of our attention can be grossly classified as forms. These forms come and go in our field of awareness, whilst in the background there is formlessness – a stillness or space (i.e. the canvas) which allows these forms or objects of our perception to come and go. This formlessness is inseparable from our attention or awareness. This mindfulness exercise is designed to cultivate awareness of this awareness. By doing so, we may gain insight (via direct experience) into the true nature of our consciousness, prior to thinking and conditioning.

Beginning the Exercise

This exercise is best added to the other mindfulness exercises usually midway through or towards the end of your practise. It’s usually most effective once you have cultivated a relatively mindful state during your period of practise. It can be performed with your eyes open or closed in any position.

Practising with Emptiness

Practise this additional mindfulness exercise initially for as little as 1 minute. Gradually increase it to longer periods lasting as long as you feel comfortable (for example 10 – 30 minutes). Repeat 1 – 3 times per day. Once your practise period is complete, remember to bring the awareness you have cultivated into each moment of your daily life as you leave the formal realm of practise and re-enter the realm of doing.

Learn More About Mindfulness

PhysioAdvisor’s mindfulness articles have been created as a progressive series with the intention of strengthening your mindfulness knowledge and practise. Remember, mindfulness knowledge alone will not give you any of the wonderful benefits of mindfulness – we have to practise!! Advanced mindfulness exercises is the seventh article in our series. View the next article in our series:
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