Alexandra Redmond, Stress coach, Yoga and Meditation teacher, shared her thoughts with us about a hot topic today: Mindfulness. She hosts a variety of retreats year-round in breathtaking Sardinia.
In this modern world we are all busy, rushing around from here to there. In fact, we can often feel guilty or even like a failure if we are not busy. But with all this rushing around, are we ever actually really living life? Or is our life just one thing after another?
When you are on holiday, have you noticed how the food tastes so much more vibrant? How the colours seem to become more vivid? This isn’t because food tastes any different or the colours are any brighter than when you are at home; it’s because you are more present with the experiences of the senses. You are able to notice things around you as they are not being blocked by the constant mind chatter you have in everyday life. You are naturally more present and more mindful when you are not caught up thinking about what you have to do next.
You can actually enjoy all of the everyday experiences of your life like this, you can inhabit your body, be present and show up for your life instead of wishing it away, or completely missing whole sections of your life as you rush around on autopilot.
By coming on a Mindfulness and Yoga retreat, you will learn how to bring yourself back to the present moment, how to live and enjoy life more fully. Mindfulness helps us deal with difficulties, chronic pain, and destructive behaviour patterns. I have used Mindfulness to get off the rollercoaster of highs and lows that often come with depression. Mindfulness is not just for people with difficult life situations, mindfulness helps us to enjoy every aspect of life more fully, even mundane tasks such as housework can be a source of inner peace when you apply Mindfulness to the task!
So what to expect if you decide to come on a Mindfulness and Yoga Retreat with me in Sardinia?
I teach the practices that I have found most useful in my own life, explaining how I apply them into everyday life, not just on a meditation cushion. I explain the practice we will be following each day, we do the practice together, with me guiding and prompting when necessary, and then follow it with time to discuss your experiences and how you could use it in daily life. You may also have a little homework as you carry on your day, something to remember or try as you enjoy your restorative retreat in Sardinia.
I cannot begin to express the importance of the breath. There are full Sutras (historical texts) dedicated to the practices of using the breath to attain enlightenment. The breath is the foundation of a Mindful life, and the health benefits of Pranayama are enormous. So we also dedicate time each day to practice Pranayama, taking time to reconnect with the sensations of breath, learning how to use the breath to affect our emotional states, and reduce stress levels. In meditation we learn how to use the breath as an anchor for our practice, how to use it as a safe place in times of difficulty, and how we can begin to notice and relinquish our need to control everything.
We practice Hatha Yoga in a Mindful way throughout the week, learning to feel the sensations of the body fully and from within, not focusing on getting into the aesthetically perfect external posture, instead on the sensationally perfect internal posture, which will be different for every body at every class! We begin to inhabit the body again, to be more sensitive to the subtle signals the body sends that have been systematically drowned out by our lack of attention and awareness.
We also have a Yoga Nidra session each day. For those of you new to Yoga Nidra, it is a deeply relaxing, restoring, and meditative practice, which follows a specific sequence which includes awareness of the body, subtle sensations, breath, and visualisation. A Yoga Nidra practice lasts at least 25 minutes, but can last up to an hour or more. Yoga Nidra is a wonderful practice that enhances and compliments the practie of Mindfulness, allowing us to reconnect with the body in a deep and profound way.
So, whether you are just curious about this ancient practice, or whether you want to take some time to deepen your existing practice, my retreats are a wonderful way to practice Mindfulness and to discuss the benefits and challenges of the practice in a friendly, non-judgmental environment.
For more information on Alexandra’s upcoming retreats, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and click through the links below:
Sun Sea Sardinia