2,000+ Free Mindfulness Exercises

Flowering of Compassion

It’s About Time

Wes Nisker does a little time travel (a talk on it's about time). It's about living in the moment, the Read More
Opening To Gratitude

Opening To Gratitude

Sean Fargo leads the Opening to Gratitude meditation. This meditation teaches to appreciate the gifts, to be thankful while thinking Read More
Mindfulness exercise

Who Are You, Wanderer?

Jack Kornfield explains that our life is just but a moment of our journey. Who are we? We just wander Read More
Flowering of Compassion

Spiritual Bypassing

Frank Ostaseski talks about Spiritual Bypassing. True spirituality is not something high or mighty, it's grounded. Frank talks more about Read More
Bonus 5-minute meditation

Bonus 5-minute Meditation

Meditation is the act of improving our brain’s software programming through applied mental training. Listen to this 5-minute meditation from Read More
Right Concentration

Right Concentration

Shaila Catherine quotes the Buddha, "concentration is to understand things the way it is." When the mind is steady, it Read More
Nowness Wholeness Allness Oneness

Nowness Wholeness Allness Oneness

Rick Hanson talks about the four words- Nowness, Wholeness, Allness, and Oneness. Let go of the past, future, and present. Read More
Lesson from Nature, depression and anxiety binaural beat

Depression & Anxiety (Binaural Beat)

Binaural Beat for Depression & Anxiety. Binaural beats are auditory illusion perceived by the brain when two different tones are Read More
Gentle Mindful Yoga

Gentle Mindful Yoga

Gentle Mindful Yoga begins with the centering, followed by a series of postures and movements, and concludes with a relaxation Read More
Working with trauma

Working with Trauma

Tara Brach talks about Working with Trauma. Loving-kindness creates a space for you. Bring to mind the people that love Read More
Transforming Suffering nature

Transforming Suffering

Learn how to deal with life's circumstances that are challenging in Transforming Suffering. What are the things that are difficult Read More
Mindfulness and Concentration

Lack of Continuity of Mindfulness and Concentration

Kate Munding reminds the importance of stillness in the practice of mindfulness and improves concentration especially in the world where Read More
Art Therapy, Wise Effort

Wise Effort

Marcia Rose talks about the 3rd factor of enlightenment: wise effort. Wise effort is so intricate to energy, i.e., ever Read More
Working With Your Inner Critic

Working With Your Inner Critic

Mark Coleman leads a meditation- Working with your Inner Critic. It's unusual because in this meditation he allows inviting a Read More
Gil Fronsdal

Guided Meditation on the Breath

Gil Fronsdal leads a Guided Meditation on the Breath. There are 2 general ways of being with the breath in Read More
Nature of Awareness

The Importance of Appreciating our Benefactors

James Baraz tells a story about the importance of appreciating our benefactors. These mentors and inspirations should be considered streams Read More
Letting Go of Your Story

Letting Go of Your Story

Phillip Moffitt leads a mediation to explore about our lives' story. 1st is to acknowledge the absolute necessity of the Read More
Lessons from Nature

Learning To Listen Deeply

Tara Brach talks about Learning To Listen Deeply. It's kind of an innate form of violence in our culture when Read More
Dharmette by Gil Fronsdal

What’s Not Wrong

Gil Fronsdal leads a Guided Meditation Dharmette: What's Not Wrong. Some people are oriented to noticing what's wrong, searching for Read More
Focused attention

Focused Attention & Concentration

Sean Fargo leads a guided meditation focused attention and concentration. This meditation is useful to increase focus and mindfulness. Read More
Mindfulness exercise

Connection to Life

Guy Armstrong talks about connection to life. How the ego puts us into differentiating ourselves making us less connected to Read More
Mindfulness Exercise on Lessons From Nature

Mindfulness of Depression 2/5

Rona Kabatznick leads Part 2 of the guided forgiveness meditation on Mindfulness Depression. Forgiveness of self is to open one's Read More
Gil Fronsdal

Guided Meditation on Breath

Gil Fronsdal leads a guided meditation on the breath as a fundamental practice for mindfulness and to familiarize the self Read More
Teachings on the Calligraphy

Teachings on the Calligraphy of Thich Nat Hanh

Mark Coleman talks about the Calligraphy of Thich Nat Hanh. "I have arrived, I am home." This is the profound Read More
Gil Fronsdal Guided Anapanasati Meditations

Guided Anapanasati: Cultivating Well Being

Gil Fronsdal leads an Anapanasati Cultivating Well Being. Take a moment to really know & feel. Your body is always Read More
Forgiveness Practice

Forgiveness Practice

Forgiveness practice can be done in different ways. In cultures, it's an interpersonal practice while in Buddhist practice, it's more Read More
Gil Fronsdal

The Space Between

Gil Fronsdal leads a Guided Meditation The Space Between. In meditation practice sometimes we discover space can be inspiring, physically Read More
Mindfulness for holiday stress

Mindfulness of the Body

Shaila Catherine leads a guided meditation with an emphasis on the mindfulness of the body. The body is a wonderful Read More
How the Dalai Lama Did Not Say Something New

How the Dalai Lama Did Not Say Something New

Sylvia Boorstein talks about how the Dalai Lama teaches the same old teachings, which is good! Expounds that what's important Read More
Equanimity and Faith

Equanimity and Faith

Sharon Salzberg talks about Equanimity and Faith. Equanimity is the evenness of mind, especially in difficult circumstances. Develop a mind Read More
mindfulness exercises guided meditation 8

Heartfelt Meditation

Joseph Goldstein leads a guided meditation on Metta. Metta is the feeling of kindliness, loving-kindness, and heartfelt. Of friendliness and Read More
The Five Hindrances

The Five Hindrances

Joseph Goldstein holds a Q&A session about the 5 hindrances. The 5 hindrances are sensory desire, ill will, sloth, restlessness, Read More
Leading With Purpose

Leading With Purpose

Sean Fargo leads a guided meditation Leading with Purpose. This meditation explores leading with purpose whether you're in an organization Read More
Working with Addiction

Working with Addiction

Tara Brach talks about Working with Addiction. She started with the story of the Hungry Ghosts. Attachments and addictions are Read More
Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness & Pain 6: Compassion and Investigation

Learn how to bring up kindness toward yourself & use the power of mindfulness to investigate how you feel in Read More
Cultivation

Love: Cultivation, Concentration & Purification

Matthew Brensilver talks about Love: Cultivation, Concentration & Purification. Love makes our grounds fertile to realize wisdom deeply. Read More
Mindfulness meditation

Emotional Reactions to Pain

Ines Freedman leads a guided body scan meditation about Emotional Reactions to Pain. The meditation brings into awareness certain pains Read More
Lessons from Nature, Radical Acceptance

Radical Acceptance

Radical acceptance can help us move towards mindfulness, awareness, and compassion. Listen to Tara Brach talks about Radical Acceptance. Read More
mindfulness exercises

Third Eye Awakening (Binaural Beat)

Binaural Beat for Third Eye Awakening. Binaural beats are auditory illusion perceived by the brain when two different tones are Read More
Mindfulness for holiday stress

Introduction to Seeing Drawing

Marcia Rose gives an exercise: introduction to seeing drawing as a form of meditative activity. "When we start to draw Read More
Nature of Awareness, Nature of Aversion

Trust

James Baraz talks about trust in relation to self-discovery. And how it relates to believing, and how it facilitates the Read More
Mindfulness meditation

Walking Meditation

Matthew Brensilver leads a guided Walking Meditation. Walking meditation gives a different experience of awareness with visual feelings and movement. Read More
Mindfulness exercise

Gratitude

Rick Hanson talks about Gratitude. It's a sort of a catchword for gladness, satisfaction, and fulfillment. These feelings are the Read More
Commitment

Commitment, Attachment & Love

Jack Kornfield talks about Commitment, Attachment, and Love. Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without Read More
Open Awareness

Open Awareness

Sean Fargo invites us to do open awareness meditation practice. This meditation is suitable for beginners, as it teaches the Read More
Open Awareness

Focused Attention And Open Awareness

Sean Fargo leads a guided meditation that alternates between focused attention and open awareness. Direct the attention back to the Read More
Mindfulness of Aspiration

Mindfulness of Aspiration

Sharon Salzberg talks about Mindfulness of Aspiration, not as a synonym of desire, but as a harnessing of our imagination, Read More
Wise Concentration

Wise Concentration

Marcia Rose talks about wise concentration. It's one of the 7 factors of awakening: mindfulness, investigation, energy, joy, tranquility, concentration Read More
Doubt mindfulness

Dealing With Doubt

Sharon Salzberg talks about Dealing with Doubt. Doubt can be intentionally cultivated and serve as an exploration of truth. Read More
Everything is Spiritual Practice

Everything is Spiritual Practice

Sylvia Boorstein leads a spontaneous meditation and tells that the spiritual practice happens even when in community with others, so Read More

The Power of Mindfulness Exercises

Though the term mindfulness might sometimes feel to be a relatively new term to arrive in collective consciousness, it is a practice that has been understood for centuries in other countries and communities of the world. While Western society as a collective is only just beginning to scratch the surface of what mindfulness really is and the widespread implications it has, Buddhists and Hindus have understood its powers for thousands of years, seeing mindfulness as a potent tool for transformation and deeper life understanding.

For reasons that are quite understandable, more and more people are starting to explore this powerful practice as the fast-paced and highly interconnected world is leaving us feeling more disconnected from ourselves and from the world around us. As we begin to tap into our own personal mindfulness practice, we begin to intuitively understand how and why this teaching has held strong throughout millennia.

Observing the Nature of Reality

Mindfulness calls us to take a closer look at the present moment – exactly as it is. Through our direct experience, with preconditioned beliefs and ideas set aside, we expand our field of awareness by observing whatever we can sense in this very moment. Some of the ways we can tune into the present moment mindfully include basic techniques such as:

  • Drawing awareness to the breath
  • Witnessing thoughts and emotions without attachment
  • Observing bodily sensations, both surface and visceral
  • Tuning into each of our five senses without judgment and without seeking anything in particular
  • Compassionately and non-judgmentally interacting with whatever is present in the moment

Though it might at first seem simple, the truth is that it is and it isn’t. Much of the world, and the majority of the Western world specifically, has not been raised to interact with the world in a mindful way. It is a concept and a way of being that has not yet influenced most societies on a major scale. Learning to tune into the world mindfully is therefore a big step for many people and as such, it is a slow and continually evolving process. Mindfulness is a completely different way of being than most of us are used to and this is what can make it appear challenging.

However, with that said, it is a simple practice that once explored in a meaningful way has countless benefits, extending outwards from the core of our being like a ripple in water. Not only does everything in one’s immediate life change, so too does the surrounding environment. By quietly beginning to observe the stories we tell ourselves and tune into the assumptions we make about the world around us, we start to gain power over our thoughts, unveiling the true potential of mindfulness.

The Power of the Mind

While it might be commonly thought that our thoughts are a product of who we are, the assumption deserves deeper exploration. In mainstream Western culture, we often don’t probe our thoughts, leaving them to direct the show of our lives. We take them on as if they are our own, allowing them to speak for who we are. These unexamined thoughts influence our beliefs and our actions and the external world reflects back whatever energy we are radiating outwards. 

Mindfulness practice helps us to observe the opposite – to understand that our thoughts are not, in fact, an expression of who we truly are. Instead, our thoughts are viewed as separate energy bodies that do not belong to us. Though they are largely formulated by residue from our personal history and from the culture of our human and societal collective at large, our thoughts are not ultimately fixed and they are not “true” in any absolute sense.

When left unchecked, the conditioned and habitual mind makes all of our executive decisions. Through mindful observation of these mental movements, we begin to take some of that power back. When thoughts arise suggesting words to be said and actions to be taken, mindfulness intervenes as our ability to quietly observe the rest of that experience. At any moment, we might silently, compassionately, and non-judgmentally inquire:

  • What is arising in the silence?
  • What sort of energy is observable in the mind?
  • How does the physical body feel right now?
  • Is there movement towards or away from something?
  • What feelings or emotions are present within me right now and where?

Without seeking clear answers, mindfulness provides space for pure awareness of the present moment to arise. When we are mindful, we might pick up on subtle energies and deeper insights that the mind might not normally wish to address, such as:

  • Unhealthy decisions made based on cravings
  • Avoidance of opportunities for growth based on fear
  • Repressed emotions influencing our actions and decisions
  • Attachment patterns resulting from fear of being alone
  • Judgment of others to avoid looking within
  • Fear of being unloved, unaccepted, or rejected

These are only just a few of the infinite insights that can arise from mindfulness practice. While we might also be able to witness some of these ideas or notions without practicing mindfulness consistently, they resonate on a deeper level when we observe them from the heart space rather than from the mind. When we are quiet and approach whatever is present without rationalization, fear, or judgment, the power these observations hold is exponentially greater than when deduced from mental analysis. What we then come to know holds true power to transform our lives.

The Healing Powers of Mindfulness Exercises

Once we have tapped into mindful exploration of the self, mindfulness has the power to heal on numerous levels. As a human collective, we are beginning to understand how interconnected the mind and body really are, making mindfulness practices incredibly beneficial for physical ailments. On the level of the human body, mindfulness has countless positive benefits, including:

  • Reduction of one’s experience of pain, nausea, and fatigue
  • Lowered levels of the stress hormone, cortisol
  • Increased levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a calming brain neurotransmitter
  • Increased gray matter density in brain regions associated with emotional regulation, learning, memory, and perspective
  • Improved sleep habits and reduction of insomnia
  • Improved immune system functioning
  • Reduced blood pressure and lowered risk of heart disease

On a mental and emotional level, the potential for mindfulness to transform is just as powerful. As we start to observe the habitual patterns of the mind, we gain greater awareness and subsequent control over our thoughts and our responses to life. This heightened awareness, paired with the effects that mindfulness has on the physical body (such as reducing stress hormones and influencing the brain), is a large part of what leads to transformation of mind. Regularly observed effects of mindfulness practice include:

  • Greater capacity for focus and attention
  • Greater acceptance for the present moment
  • Deeper insights and powerful realizations
  • Deeper sense of connection to self and to the world around
  • Greater overall experience of peace and harmony

Mindfulness touches each individual in a different way. Where there is authentic willingness to open ourselves up to whatever exists in the present moment, there is great potential for transformation. Insights and growth cannot be forced, however; rather, when we surrender to whatever exists, wisdom unveils itself.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”

- Brené Brown -

The Path of Presence

In her poem ‘When Death Comes’, Mary Oliver writes:

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

Mindfulness is, in essence, this sort of movement through, or interaction with, life. It is a wholehearted acceptance of whatever exists; it is a path of presence. As we learn to become more mindful in our everyday lives, not solely when in moments of meditation, we start to understand what it means to live in the present moment. Though feelings, thoughts, and emotions will continue to arise, our relationship to them changes. We become more curious about everything that exists in the present moment. Tendencies to judge, suppress, or reject things we ‘don’t like’ or deem to be ‘bad’ begin to lessen; instead, we practice the art of quietly sitting with whatever appears to be happening.

Exploring the Power of Mindfulness

We can explore the power of mindfulness is numerous ways. From sitting meditations to written, reflective free mindfulness exercises, the paths of transformation through mindfulness are numerous and intertwining. Here are a few ways to explore the power of this practice.

1. Mindful Self-Inquiry

Even though mindfulness is commonly associated with meditation, mindful reflection on our observations can help to enhance our understanding of the mind and the ultimate nature of reality. To practice, take some quiet time to sit with these questions or to write down your answers. Let whatever comes come with judgment or analysis. Inquire:

  • What do you believe about yourself? Why do you believe these things, and would you label them as “truth”? Are these beliefs fixed or fluid?
  • What exists within your body right now? As you draw your attention to a particular sensation, does the sensation change at all? If you draw your attention away from this area, does the sensation change at all?
  • If you were to wipe the slate of your personal story clean, what would remain? What can you observe in the silent space created when all stories, beliefs, and ideas falls away?

2. Emotional Awareness and Acceptance

When difficult emotions rise to the surface, we often struggle to accept them. Part of the freedom that arises from mindfulness comes when we learn to accept whatever exists – “good” or “bad.” When emotions arise, practice:

  • Taking a step away from the outside world but sitting comfortably in an upright position and tuning into whatever is present. Note any stories or plot lines weaving themselves through your direct experience; tune into the raw sensation instead.
  • Note the emotions that are arising by simply labelling them, “anger,” “grief,” “irritation,” or whatever may be applicable. Refrain from attaching the I-self to these energies.
  • Draw your attention to the heart space, opening yourself up compassionately to whatever your experience is. Mindfully ease any judgment that arises and simply allow yourself to be right where you are without attaching to the energy that is there.

3. Become the Observer

We spend countless hours thinking – thinking about what we want to do next in life, thinking about ourselves, others, and the world, and thinking about everything we pass by in our lives. Left unchecked, thinking runs our lives.

  • Practice becoming the observer of your thinking by watching your thoughts as if they were weather patterns. Like the weather, thoughts move constantly, and as we begin to become more aware of their impermanence, they loosen their grip on our beliefs and our actions. When thoughts arise, simply acknowledge them by silently whispering, “I see you,” and then letting them go. Acknowledge and release. Acknowledge and release.

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