Mindfulness is a vast area of study, ranging from scientific studies to personal experiences that only you can reveal for yourself. While there are gurus and guides to show you the way, the essence of mindfulness lies in introspection and discovery within.
Such an open-ended concept can seem hard to grasp at first, which is why certain schools of thought can help point us in the right direction. For those just starting on their mindful journey, where is the best place to start? Palouse mindfulness is one entry point that can benefit newcomers and mindfulness masters alike.
This article will explore the idea of palouse mindfulness, where it came from, and how it can help you unlock a world of benefits for the body and mind. If you’re unsure how to kickstart your mindfulness practice and need some extra motivation, you’re in the right place.
What is palouse mindfulness?
Palouse mindfulness is a method created by Dave Potter, a certified instructor of mindfulness-based stress reduction. Potter studied under Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 2004 and combined his learning with personal discovery and direct experience with students.
Potter named his course after the Palouse region of the northwest United States, known for its gentle, rolling hills and tranquil natural environment. The methodology of this mindfulness approach reflects the calm and soothing nature of this landscape, offering students profound insights without complex or rigorous academic study.
At its core, palouse mindfulness is an introduction to key concepts like meditation, breathing, and introspection. But like anything in the world of health and wellness, you get back what you put into the course. Because it’s so accessible and easy to begin, palouse mindfulness is the perfect starting point for beginners or anyone looking to get back into daily mindfulness practices.
How does palouse mindfulness differ from traditional mindfulness practices?
With so many resources in the mindfulness space, palouse mindfulness stands alone as a free, simplified version of ancient practices combined with modern research.
While Jon Kabat-Zinn offers a scientific, research-backed approach to mindfulness teaching, Potter’s methods are not as esoteric or complex. He hand-picked the most useful and practical aspects of Kabat-Zinn’s program and made them accessible to anyone interested.
It’s also worth noting that Potter’s methods are not tied to any religious or esoteric aspects of mindfulness, which might be associated with traditional teachings. They are purely secular and approachable regardless of one’s religious background or other world beliefs.
Finally, the palouse mindfulness course is designed to last eight weeks, introducing one key concept at a slow and reasonable pace. The course begins with simple meditation and body scan practices before moving into ideas like pain management, self-compassion, yoga, and more. By the end of the course, students will be ready to adopt and craft their own routine to use as their own and evolve their practice moving forward.
How is palouse mindfulness practiced?
Potter does a great job of outlining the course basics from the start. He gives students a simple set of steps to follow as they learn the palouse mindfulness method and make it their own. Let’s look at how a palouse mindfulness practice is structured so you can get started and begin to reap the benefits for yourself.
Setting the intention
This concept is meant to set the stage for a mindfulness session by putting the practitioner in the right frame of mind. When we say “intention,” we mean the overarching goals and aspirations we want to accomplish with this practice. This could be as simple as eating better, getting more exercise, or treating others with more compassion or care. When you enter a mindfulness practice from this perspective, it gives the session more meaning and helps keep you on track.
Choosing a quiet space
Find a quiet, calm space in your home free of distraction in which you can fully relax. You don’t want your mindfulness practice to be disturbed by noises or other people moving throughout the space. While some people only need a chair and a closed door, others might benefit from a cushion, candles, ambient music, or other items to help set the scene for introspection.
Every meditation session begins with breathing, and this should be your main focus as you ease into your practice. Focus solely on the pattern of your breath, tracking every movement from inhalation and holding to exhalation and the moments in between. Aim to breathe deeply into the diaphragm, allowing the bottom of the ribcage and the belly to expand fully with each inhale.
The body scan technique is central to the palouse practice, bringing attention to different areas of the body and inducing deep relaxation. You can start your body scan anywhere, whether it’s the tips of the toes or a troublesome area like sore shoulders or the lower back. Putting extra awareness on individual areas can help to soothe tension and relieve discomfort, especially when paired with a topical CBD cream for targeted relief from aches and daily stressors.*
Observing your thoughts from a place of detachment is key to any meditation practice. The goal is to recognize that thoughts are not inextricable from identity or our place in the world. When you are able to observe thoughts objectively rather than emotionally, you can gain valuable perspective and make better decisions from that point forward. Don’t fight with your thoughts or push them away — observation is essential to gaining self-knowledge and personal growth.
Palouse mindfulness encourages you to use all available senses, including listening. Your environment will likely not be completely silent, and ambient noises may be picked up. From birds chirping to cars driving by and even disturbances like sirens or shouts, learn to listen from a calm and centered place. This trains your mind to remain unbound by emotional associations with certain sensory triggers and strengthens your stability in daily life.
10 reasons to try palouse mindfulness
You’ve had a glimpse into what a palouse mindfulness practice looks and feels like. The process is simple, but the potential benefits of mindfulness are boundless. Let’s look at 10 reasons why you should pick up this practice and incorporate it into your daily routine.
1. Enhanced mental clarity
Between brain fog, fatigue, and all the distractions of the modern world, mental clarity is more valuable than ever. Palouse mindfulness helps brush away the mental clutter that builds up throughout the day and gives us a fresh perspective on everything from professional goals to personal responsibilities. It’s a practical, sustainable way to clear your mind that will pay dividends in all areas of life.
2. Emotional regulation
Emotions aren’t inherently bad — they’re a part of the human experience. However, being ruled by your emotions can lead to rash decisions and a sense of inner turmoil that can degrade your quality of life. Mindfulness techniques taught by the palouse methodology can help you regain control of your emotions so that they don’t get the better of you.
3. Improved physical health
The link between mental and physical health could not be more clear, and palouse mindfulness techniques underline this fact further. With a boost of mental clarity and the right intentions, mindfulness can help you prioritize your physical health in every regard, from diet and nutrition to exercise, sleep, and more. It’s no wonder why mindfulness practitioners are often more vibrant and enjoy greater physical health.
4. Better sleep patterns
So many sleep problems stem from stress and not being able to let go of repetitive thoughts at night. By practicing mindfulness as part of your evening routine, you can clear your mind of these bothersome thought patterns and create the ideal internal environment for sleep. Combined with CBN supplements and other proven sleep hygiene practices, you can sleep soundly each night and wake up feeling fully refreshed.*
5. Stress reduction
Mindfulness-based stress reduction is the central philosophy of palouse practice and the teachings of Jon Kabat-Zinn. The message is clear: mindfulness is scientifically proven to reduce stress in all forms, allowing you to focus on the things in life that matter most. Additionally, low-stress living is beneficial for longevity, quality of life, and overall well-being. While stress will always be part of life, mindfulness helps you manage it the right way and become more adaptable to daily stressors.
6. Strengthened interpersonal relationships
Relationships matter, whether you’re in the workplace or growing a family at home. Mindfulness practices help you be more patient, compassionate, and kind to the people in your life. This will help you enjoy deeper and more fulfilling relationships, benefiting those around you while heightening your sense of self-worth and meaning.
7. Increased focus and productivity
Focus and productivity are more than just business buzzwords. They are the keys to accomplishing anything in life, from professional projects to creative pursuits and hobbies. With mindfulness practice and Neuro Soluble CBD, you’ll find yourself able to focus for longer periods of time without your mind wandering or being tempted by digital distractions.*
8. Enhanced self-awareness
Self-awareness is the art of knowing yourself and how you fit into the world around you. By practicing palouse mindfulness, you can better understand patterns, strengths, and areas where you wish to improve. This awareness helps you allocate your time and efforts more wisely moving forward.
9. Support in times of crisis
Life has its challenges, but are you prepared to handle them? While you may feel secure financially or have a strong support network, your mind must remain strong in times of crisis as well. Palouse mindfulness gives you the mental resilience you need to keep an even keel no matter what unfolds.*
10. Accessible and easy to start
Palouse mindfulness strips away the complexities and other intimidating aspects of traditional mindfulness practices. You don’t need a degree, a mantra, or a month-long retreat away from your job or family. You can take the palouse mindfulness course anywhere, anytime, and on your own schedule.
The bottom line
Palouse mindfulness is the culmination of thousands of years of mindfulness study and discovery. With so much information packed into one course, it’s one of the best ways to get started and enhance your inner and outer world.
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