Living in the Present
Through mindfulness, Tina Abraham captures aha moments
Though TINA ABRAHAM, owner and founder of PURMINDFUL had meditated since her college years, it wasn’t until she took the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class several years later that she decided to teach mindfulness meditation. The course made such a difference in her life, she wanted to share it.
“The experience was so powerful and transformative for me, I thought everyone needs to know about it,” Abraham says.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that focuses on being fully present in every moment. The practice yields significant benefits: reduced stress, better quality of life, improved relationships, increased focus, and less emotional reactivity, according to the American Psychological Association.
Those who practice mindfulness strive to pay attention to whatever they are experiencing, which allows them to better appreciate their lives. They also become aware of their thoughts, determining which are true and which are made up, Abraham explains.
Instead, too often, we live in the future, which can lead to anxiety, or the past, which can lead to depression; or we create a narrative that causes unfounded worry, Abraham continues.
“At its core, mindfulness is training your attention, so you cultivate self-awareness, which allows you to make reasoned and wise decisions in your day to day life,” Abraham says.
To become a qualified mindfulness teacher, Abraham took the 3-year MBSR Teacher Training Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School as well as the Mindfulness in Schools Project course at Mindful Schools. She opened PURMINDFUL in 2016, offering mindfulness classes to businesses and schools and coaching to individuals.
In the beginning, there were a lot of misconceptions about mindfulness, Abraham says. Many thought it was a religious practice, while others thought it was related to yoga. However, as Abraham started working with businesses such as the YMCA, New Hanover County, Live Oak Bank, and Cameron Art Museum; gave presentations; and counseled individual clients, interest in the practice—and her business–grew.
Today, one of Abraham’s most popular classes is the same one that drew her to mindfulness, MBSR. In the eight-week course, students learn how to understand the mind, meditate, and handle specific issues in their lives.
“People who attend MBSR are going through something difficult, such as cancer, a divorce, the loss of a loved one—a big transitional moment,” Abraham says.
Abraham also has a large number of individual clients. She helps them determine their path in life and teaches them how to use mindfulness as an intervention. She also gives them tools to better respond to difficult situations.
“With mindfulness, rather than reacting with anger or frustration, people can pause and recognize why someone is acting in a certain way,” Abraham says. “Then they can communicate in a way that is more human.”
Given COVID’s restrictions, Abraham is currently conducting most of her individual sessions and all of her classes online. In addition, to help alleviate the stress caused by COVID, she offers a bi-weekly, free, online mediation to the public.
Whether in-person or online, Abraham’s students learn that they can use mindfulness to improve how they experience life—personal growth that gives Abraham great satisfaction.
“I’m so happy when my students have the aha moment when they understand mindfulness and realize they can use it in their lives,” she says.
To view more of photographer Aris Harding’s work, go to arisharding.com.
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