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Mainly Mindful and Mainly Free

Meaningful free mindfulness resources

Meaningful free mindfulness resources

Everyone loves free stuff. There is something about the word “free” that presses the hunter/gatherer button in our human brains and makes us act a little crazy. I once saw a group of 10 adult humans descend on a free chip and dip sample booth at the Canadian National Exhibition in a Serengeti worthy feeding frenzy. It was fascinating. And gross.

But most free stuff is garbage. It’s bad chip and dip or bad plastic throwaway swag that adds nothing meaningful to our lives. Until now. As a mainly mindful person who is trying to cultivate a little mindfulness while being mainly mindful about my spending, I have discovered some truly meaningful free stuff. Like Oprah’s favorite things but without the price tag. No car for you. You’re getting joy, calm, compassion and meaning, for free.

Palouse Mindfulness

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is the eight-week mindfulness training program that was originally developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Since then there has been a pile of research to demonstrate that it’s clinically proven to do just that. The class is set up with weekly lessons, and daily meditations and informal mindfulness practices all designed to train your brain to manage stress better. After 8 weeks of this program I found it had helped me build my mindfulness muscle, helping me to notice, catch myself and calm the F down. If you google MBSR you might find in person classes offered near you, often for a fee. If you don’t have the cash or a local option Palouse Mindfulness offers a free online version of the course. Do yourself a favor, and take the course.

Yoga with Adriene

For a long time, I did not get yoga. It just seemed like boring slow-moving exercise for hippies. Then I started meditating and all of sudden paying attention to my breath and body sensations while doing the boring slow-moving exercises made so much more sense. I’m now one of those weirdos that delights in the euphoric energy rush when settling into shavasana at the end of a yoga practice. But damn yoga is expensive. I give full credit to Adriene Mishler at Yoga with Adriene for helping me to develop a regular home practice that has helped me really access the benefits of yoga. Her YouTube channel has hundreds of free videos for all skill levels, all infused with Adriene’s fun, often quirky and always mindful style.   

Insight Timer

There are so many wonderful meditation apps out there. SO MANY. But most of them come with a price tag, often charging in the neighbourhood of $100 a year to access most of their content. Enter Insight Timer, a free app that offers access to over 15,000 meditations free of charge. It can be a little overwhelming as a new meditator (where do I start?), but if you know what style of meditation you’re after you can search a seemingly endless supply of guided meditations, talks and music.  

Park Run

Ok, this one isn’t a pure mindfulness program, but if you like community (I do), fitness (ditto) and free (who doesn’t), Park Run is a lovely addition to your week. Park Run offers free timed 5 kilometer runs all over the world. Check out their site and if you’re lucky you’ll find one in your community, or in the next city you’re travelling to. A social Saturday morning run with your local community is great for the soul. It’s welcoming to all fitness levels – you can bring the kids, the dog or just walk it.

10% Happier Podcast

I’m just getting into podcasts now, a decade late to the party. Dan Harris’s 10% Happier Podcast has an incredible catalogue of conversations with some of the best known mindfulness and meditation instructors in the world, and with all sorts of celebrities and writers exploring the world of mindfulness. All laced with Dan’s humour and skepticism. Learn something and be entertained on that morning commute.

A Note About Free:

All of these things are 100% free which is a beautiful thing in this modern capitalist world. But here’s the thing: all of these people are spending their precious life energy making these great products and services and that deserves some respect. If you like the services do what you can to give back. Subscribe to Adriene’s YouTube channel, send Dave at Palouse Mindfulness a donation, sign up to volunteer at Park Run or pay it forward in some way. The world does not need more free plastic pens and tchotchkes but it does need more great stuff like this.

Let’s Do This

What’s your favorite (mindful) free stuff?

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