Mindfulness has become a popular buzz word in the worlds of therapy, yoga and even medical practices. However, the practice of mindfulness dates back thousands of years in ancient eastern traditions. What exactly is mindfulness and how do we apply it?

Mindfulness means staying present to the here-and-now experience. So often, our minds ruminate about the past or remain future-oriented in planning for the next hour, day or year. In our hurried society, one easily gets lost in this past-future shuffle and loses the most precious moment – the “now”.

If you identify with this past-future shuffle then you know how this feels. Often, thoughts that dwell in the past conjure up feelings of anger, resentment, sadness, guilt, shame – or even joy. Future-oriented thinking can bring about anxiety, stress, frustration or excitement. When you stay in the past or future, you lose your current experience, the experience that you have the most control over. So, how does this translate to the bedroom?

Being stuck in the past-future shuffle in the bedroom robs you of your full presence to be with your partner (or with yourself). During foreplay, you may be thinking about the laundry that needs to get done or the report that’s due for work. Meanwhile, with your mind in those places, you lose the opportunity to fully feel your partner’s presence with you, to feel their caress, their kiss, their body heat, their sounds, their eye contact, their skin and hair textures, their breath on your skin.

You can easily lose contact with some of the most important details occuring in the present. These precious details make up a large part of our sexual pleasure. Unfortunately, most couples find themselves squeezing in time for sex, with a sole purpose of orgasm, then quickly heading out the door to attend to their to-do list. It is as if we take our present moment and the opportunity for sexual pleasure for granted.

How often do you give yourself the time to savor the foreplay, to notice those electrical moments, those small details that only you share with your partner?

Give yourself the gift of truly being together. Start gently. Pick a week to carve out 2 hours for sexual mindfulness practice. Grant yourself permission to let go of your thoughts and your to-do list and focus instead on the sensation of being with each other. Notice what the experience feels like for you, whether it feels difficult or easy – without judgement on yourself. Simply become aware and take the time to talk about your experience afterward. What did you like/dislike about it? What was your favorite aspect? Do you want to try the activity again?

Savor in the simplicity of mindfulness. It will heighten and enhance your life experiences.

Tips for a Mindful Practice
While it may sound simple, mindfulness practice will challenge you, hence the emphasis on the word practice. Practicing mind-fulness requires patience, non-judgement and discipline. Below you will find a simple exercise to help you practice mindfulness during an everyday activity. Try this before applying it to the bedroom. For some people, food can be syn-onymous with sex so start your practice with the following exercise.

Try this exercise before applying mindfulness to the bedroom!

Mindful Eating

On your own or with your partner, make your favorite dish. If you’d like, create a slight ambience – music, candles. Set aside time to eat slowly and easily.

When you sit to eat, visually take in the dish. Notice the colors in your food. Smell the aroma rising from your plate. Notice the sensations in your mouth – is it watering? Notice if you feel like diving into the food and whether or not you feel frustrated with slower movement.

Taste the first bite slowly. Move the food around your mouth, chew gently, savor all of the flavors. Notice the texture of the food in your mouth and as you swallow. Stay present. Take another bite.

Continue to use all of your senses for a profound eating experience. Then imagine adapting this to the bedroom where your partner becomes your favorite dish!

Author's Bio: 

Carolynn Aristone, MSW, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker and a psychotherapist. She is the Executive Director and Owner of LIVE FULLY Counseling, locationed in Cherry Hill, NJ. She helps clients who want a better quality of life by providing a secure, respectful environment that nurtures improvement, growth, connection and fulfillment. Carolynn especially enjoys helping women thrive in their relationships by achieving a positive sense of self, physically, emotionally, spiritually and sexually.

Carolynn's work is influenced by Gestalt Therapy, Mindfulness Practice, Creative Expression and Yoga Philosophy as these complement her interests in holistic health. Applied to human sexuality, these methods help couples find comfort in their own bodies and ease with each other.

Through a combination of verbal discussion, education, experiential exercises and body work, Carolynn helps individuals and couples break down relationship barriers and produce healthy sexual experiences.

To contact Carolynn, please visit www.livefullycounseling.com, email Carolynn.Aristone@livefullycounseling.com or call directly at 856-577-5515.