‘Mindfulness isn’t difficult. We just need to remember to do it.’ Sharon Salzberg is a best-selling author and teacher of meditation practices in the west, and for many people, this quote may ring true. We all know how to be mindful, we do it every day to some extent, but the practice of being mindful involves us being aware of it. Research published in an article by The Independent suggests that more than six in 10 of us struggle to keep our lives organised. This can include factors such as work stress, busy social schedules and financial woes. With so much happening at the same time, it can be challenging to remember to be mindful every day. An idyllic solution is to practice some much-needed self-care and book yourself on a mindfulness retreat. In this journal entry, we take a look at some of the benefits you can unearth by going on a retreat.
While the definition may vary between individuals, the basic rule of mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in a situation, and not let challenging thoughts distract us. Mindfulness is used as a tool by some of those in high position jobs to help deal with stress and anxiety. If you would like to know more about mindfulness and meditation have a browse through our journal, starting with What is Mindfulness and Meditation?
The very art of mindfulness involves listening to your body and discovering things you may not have noticed before. If you like to exercise, improving the awareness of your body could help you engage the correct muscles as you are more conscious of your movements. You can use the time spent meditating to talk to different areas of your body, and one by one, focus on your muscles, joints and bones in that specific region. Do they feel achy or sore? Are they stiff and what could you do to loosen them up?
Not only will you have the time to focus on your body but also your mind. Our minds are a complex combination of the philosophical and psychological and, while getting to grips with the complexities of your mind may seem daunting; those who practice daily mindfulness will find it very beneficial. It’s not unusual for people to find that spending time meditating can help them to organise their thoughts and prioritise what they feel is essential to them, such as spending time with family and friends. Many find they can use increased self-awareness for personal development. They use a more profound understanding as tools for growth, to help them not take things too personally and improve relationships.
Mental health charity Mind lists some of the benefits of spending time in nature. The findings in their research include reduced stress or anxiety and feeling more relaxed. Often, meditation retreats are held in serene locations and nature is included at the forefront of activities. This could include things like forest bathing and morning guided meditation sessions. By allowing ourselves to reconnect with the world we live in, awareness to what is happening around us is heightened.
The non-profit educational organisation Mindworks has researched studies and summarised the long term benefits of mindfulness. The studies suggest it’s partly to do with the feeling of contentment and improved general wellbeing many practisers of meditation tend to find. Other effects suggested include better sleep and refined concentration. The practices you learn and the deeper understanding you may gain on your retreat can be taken home and implemented into your daily life. You may find you are willing to take up yoga or want to start a self-care routine that includes mindfulness.
A yoga and meditation retreat can help you find the time to enhance your practices. Balance Holidays retreats aim to educate and further evolve your knowledge and understanding of mindfulness, meditation and yoga.