Sexual Mindfulness Training
Up until this point, my articles have focused on understanding the dimensions of sexuality and mindfulness. Now it is time to show you how to put the two together and start building your sexual mindfulness.
Formal and Informal Sexual Mindfulness Training
There are two forms of sexual mindfulness training: formal and informal. Formal training involves meditating on a regular basis. Mindfulness meditation takes time and practice to master. It isn’t necessarily sexual in nature, but you’ll quickly see how being able to focus 100% of your attention to what is going on in the present moment can boost your sexual pleasure immensely.
Informal mindfulness training uses a variety of simple exercises that help you focus all of your attention on what you are doing in the present moment. All of the informal exercises I’ll show you will be sexual in nature.
The two levels of training complement each other. It is much easier to stay focused on informal sexual mindfulness activities once you become proficient in mindfulness meditation. This is why I always start my training programs with teaching people how to do mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness Meditation (Just Sitting)
Mindfulness meditation is often referred to as Just Sitting. The “just sitting” reference is both very descriptive and very misleading. In one sense, all you do when you perform mindfulness meditation is “just sit” for an extended period of time. This sounds pretty simple, direct, and uncomplicated. However, unlike other times when you just sit, during mindfulness meditation, you not only sit, you also pay full attention to everything going on inside and outside your body and mind, as well as in the environment around you.
You’re fully aware of all of your thoughts and feelings. You’re also fully aware of the sensations going on in your body. These might be related to muscle tension, pain, breathing, or any other physiological activities than you sense. In addition, you’re aware of things going on around you. You’re aware of the temperature and movement of air, sounds, scents, and anything else emanating from your environment. Your experience is one hundred percent focused on the here-and-now and your internal and external environments. Just imagine how this can increase the intensity of your sexual pleasure once you get good at it!!!
Formal Mindfulness Training Exercise #1: Just Sitting
You can meditate indoors or outdoors. I prefer to practice breath meditation indoors. I find it easier to concentrate on my breathing when I am indoors because I can control the noise level, distractions, temperature, and visual stimuli. I can choose a quiet place in my home where I can close the shades, put the fan on slow, and sit on the floor in almost absolute silence. I almost always practice breath meditation with my eyes closed.
Instructions: To practice, simply follow the instructions below. You might find it easier to record the instructions and then listen to the recording. You can practice sitting on the floor or in a chair if sitting on the floor is uncomfortable.
- Prepare to spend 5–30 minutes of uninterrupted activity where you will not be disturbed by other people, your cell-phone, or anything else.
- Wear comfortable clothing such as a sweatsuit with a non-binding waistband.
- Remove your shoes or sneakers.
- Set a timer to let you know when your time is up. Start with 5 minutes for the first week's practice. Add a minute each week until you can just sit for 30 minutes.
- If you sit on the floor, I recommend sitting on a firm cushion that elevates your butt about 4–5 inches off of the ground and allows your crossed legs to rest on the floor in front of you.
- Cross your legs and pull one foot up over the other leg and rest it on your thigh or calf. This is known as the Half-Lotus Position. If you cannot do this, simply cross your legs in a comfortable manner.
- Sit up straight with your head, neck, and back in alignment. This is referred to as the Noble Posture and is important for proper breathing.
- Take your time and readjust your legs, butt, back, and any other body part to get into a comfortable Noble Posture with your legs folded under you and your back, neck, and head in alignment.
- Do not slouch. Readjust your position if you notice that you are slouching.
- Fold your hands and let them rest comfortably on your lap or let each hand rest on a knee, palms facing up.
- If you sit on a chair;
- Take your shoes and socks off.
- Keep your legs uncrossed with your feet resting comfortably on the floor.
- Sit up straight with your head, neck, and back in the Noble Posture.
- Start by focusing your attention on your breathing. Do not attempt to regulate or control your breathing, just follow it.
- Close your eyes and notice the depth, pace, and regularity of your breathing.
- Continue to notice the depth, pace, and regularity of your breathing for several breaths.
- With your eyes still closed, begin to notice what goes on with the muscles and bones in your chest, abdomen, shoulders, and neck as you breathe in and out.
- Feel the air enter and exit your lungs.
- Feel your chest muscles expand and contract and your shoulders rise and fall as you breathe.
- Notice what happens in your neck and head as you breathe in and out. If you have disc issues in your neck and back and it is not unusual for you to hear and feel them pop as you focus on them.
- Continue to breathe for several more breaths and notice what goes on with the muscles and bones in your chest, abdomen, shoulders, and neck as you breathe in and out.
- Open your eyes and choose a focal point in the area near you. This could be a spot on the wall or floor.
- Continue to breathe normally as you focus your attention on the spot you have chosen.
- As you gaze out on your focal point, pay attention to the sounds in your immediate environment.
- Try to isolate individual sounds and enjoy them.
- Don't try to label or categorize them or worry about not knowing their origin.
- Enjoy the sounds for what they are.
- Now shift your focus to the other sensations in your environment.
- Notice the temperature and feeling of warmth or coldness as they waft over your body.
- Notice the movement of air; the volume, direction, and intensity of airflow.
- Notice any smells entering your consciousness.
- Don't judge them, just notice them.
- Take several moments to notice the sounds, smell, and feelings associated with the movement of air in your environment.
- Now shift your focus off the sensations in your outside environment and onto what is going on in your body.
- Feel the sensations of warmth and relaxation in your body.
- Refocus on your posture, and be sure to sit straight without slouching.
- Identify areas of muscle tension or pain. Try to sit with the tension and pain for a while and just accept it rather than fidget or readjust if you don't have to.
- Notice things like perspiration and the effects of air movement on it.
- Spend several moments focusing on what is going on in your body.
- As you spend the rest of your time breathing normally and focusing on your body and the environment, your mind will wander. This is normal and still happens to veteran meditators.
- When your thoughts stray from the present moment, do not get upset at yourself. Instead, close your eyes and tell yourself:
"There goes my runaway mind, taking me out of the present moment."
- Then shift your focus off the distracting thoughts or feelings and return to focusing on your breathing for a few breaths. This will help you return to the present moment.
- Open your eyes and continue meditating until your timer goes off.
Developing Your Practice
Practice at least three times a week, slowly increasing your time from 5–30 minutes. With a few months of practice, you will find that you can slow your breathing down and stay focused on it most of the time. Be patient and forgiving with yourself as you practice mindfulness meditation. It will take time and practice to get comfortable with it, but it is the foundation of sexual mindfulness.