What's The Difference Between Mindfulness & Meditation?

Photo: Twenty20

When I tell people I am a meditation teacher they often say, "Cooking is my meditation," or "Exercise is my meditation." And while those things are relaxing, meditation is its own thing—which is why it has its own word.

Mindfulness is a "directed-focus" style of meditation, in which you're focusing on or counting your breath, doing a walking meditation or a guided visualization, or focusing on a flame. Any time you have a focal point, or you're directing your mind in a particular direction, this is mindfulness. I would liken it to the art of bringing your awareness into the present moment.

What is the definition of meditation?

Meditation as I define it is all about letting go. You cultivate the power of surrender. This gives your body deep rest. When you give your body the rest that it needs, it knows how to heal itself. This happens when you're accessing a state of consciousness that is different from waking, sleeping, or dreaming.

One of the styles that I teach allows you to access this verifiable fourth state of consciousness. And in it, you're giving your body rest that's five times deeper than sleep. You are also helping the right and left hemispheres of the brain communicate with each other by strengthening the corpus callosum, which is the bridge between the two. This allows you to come up with creative solutions even in "high-stress" situations.

It's like pulling the lens back on your awareness versus focusing in. It feels like a supercharged power nap sitting up. And it gives you more energy on the other side so that you can perform at the top of your game—no matter what you may be facing (a big meeting, an interview, or wrestling your children to sleep, to name a few).

Ziva teaches a simple, back-supported, head-free style of meditation.

Article continues below

When will I see results?

Meditation, just like going to the gym, isn't something you can expect to get results from after just a single session. You wouldn't expect to have killer abs after one meeting with your trainer, so be patient with yourself as you start a meditation practice. Things tend to get messier before they get cleaner in the mind. The beautiful thing about it is that if you're brave enough to wade through the emotional detox that happens for most of us, then the benefits of it are cumulative—meaning the longer you commit to a daily practice (I recommend 15 minutes, two times per day), the more elegance and ease you start to notice in your life.

Sometimes your meditations will feel effortless and easy; some days you may be releasing a lifetime of accumulated stress. Either way, it is important to have a clear understanding of what style you are practicing in that moment so that you aren't trying to control your mind during what is meant to be an effortless practice and vice versa.

While some people try the poo-poo platter approach to learning meditation, I recommend that you find a teacher and a style that resonates with you and dive down that rabbit hole until you have a clear understanding of one technique and start to see shifts in your life. Then if you're curious about other styles, you can explore.

Take care when you are starting out that you don't dig a lot of 3-foot wells then get surprised you don't hit water. It's not important that you try every single style of meditation, but it is important that you commit to the one that resonates with you.

Emily Fletcher

Founder of Ziva Meditation
Emily Fletcher is the founder of Ziva Meditation, the world's first online meditation training. Ziva's mission is to make meditation attractive and accessible to modern people who are ready to up-level their performance and their life. Recently featured in the New York Times and regarded as one of the leading experts in Vedic meditation, Emily has been invited by companies like Google, Barclays Bank, Viacom, Chanel, Coca-Cola, and sweetgreen to help up-level company performance through meditation.Emily has had the honor of speaking at Summit Series, Awesomeness Fest, and the Omega Center. She began her nine years of training in Rishikesh, India, and was inspired to teach after experiencing the profound physical and mental benefits meditation provided her during her 10-year career on Broadway, which included roles in Chicago, The Producers, and A Chorus Line. With her high-performance background and intensive meditation training, Emily is perfectly suited to teach busy people how to incorporate meditation and visualization into their life, and she's an mbg course instructor! You can learn with her by joining her course, Guided Visualizations: How to Overcome Your Fears, Excel at Work, and Have Mind-Blowing Sex. She has also created a powerful guided visualization called zivaDETOX. It's a simple, downloadable audio that is designed to help you release thoughts and stress that are not serving you and to get you on the right path to leaving the stress behind. If Ziva sounds charming to you or you want to deepen your daily practice, you can join a global community of meditators and uplift your life from the comfort of your own home.
View the class
Emily Fletcher

Related Posts

Unlock The Healing Power Of Food

Get FREE access to mindbodygreen's Functional Nutrition Mini-Series to learn how food can be a pathway to optimal health & wellbeing.

Get Access Now Loading next article...

Your article and new folder have been saved!