Going on vacation is a great opportunity to get away from the routine and stress of daily life. For some, it’s the perfect opportunity to experience something different, explore an unfamiliar destination, and try new activities.While this may be typical for an average getaway, many people these days are seeking to make their time off more meaningful by choosing a new focus for their time away. Mindfulness has become a huge buzzword of lateas scientific research, magazine articles, and blog postsextoll its benefits. Celebrities from Oprah Winfrey to Clint Eastwood to Gwyneth Paltrow have helped make mindfulness and meditation more mainstream. But what is mindfulness and why is it something worthwhileto pursue on vacation?
Mindfulness: A Simple Definition At its most basic, mindfulness is about being aware of and attentive to your mind and the world around you. It means remaining fully present and aware as an observer of the steady stream of thoughts that flow in and out of your mind from moment to moment. Rather than drifting off into memories of the past or daydreams of the future, mindfulness requires a certain rigor to return to the present moment. It also connotes a non-judgmental approach where you are just observing the thoughts that naturally arise in your consciousness –not attaching to them, but merely witnessing them as an impartial observer.
Yoga Retreats - A Haven for the Mindful Spiritual seekers have been embarking on pilgrimages and retreats for centuries.The desire to get away from the routine of daily life and devote oneself to discovering deeper truths seems to be an intrinsic part of human nature. In our modern world, yoga retreats can often serve a similar purpose and their popularity has been increasing. Some yoga retreats emphasize the physical aspects of the practice or on enjoying new adventures in a distant land, but others focus attention on meditative approaches to calming the mind and raising awareness of the present.
The various practices of yoga go hand-in-hand with mindfulness. Whether you’re practicing asana (the physical postures), pranayama (intentional breathing exercises), kriya (purification practices), meditation, or other aspects of yoga, you’re reflexively drawn inward toward a state of greater concentration and increased awareness. That’s not to say your mind won’t wander – of course it will, you’re human – but it will be easier to maintain your intention and the surrounding circumstances will continue to offer positive reinforcement.
Inspiration in Nature While on retreat, the yoga shala and meditation hall won’t be the only places conducive to mindfulness practices, however. Most yoga retreats take place in remote locations, surrounded by beaches or mountains or rainforests. Being immersed in nature brings us greater awareness of our surroundings as we watch the sun set or the moon rise, hear the songs of the birds or the chirps of crickets, watch monkeys jump from branch to branch or whales breaching in the ocean. Getting up close and personal with nature can promote mindfulness by enhancing our sense of wonder and bringing us into the present moment.
Even something as simple as pausing to watch the methodical marching of ants or a spider spinning its web can raise our awareness of all the intricacies of life that often go unnoticed. Connection with Others Another aspect of a yoga retreat that can contribute to mindfulness is the fellow participants who you’ll meet there. You’re bound to encounter like-minded travelers who are also seeking inspiration from their yoga and meditation practices and yearning to live more mindfully.
Being surrounded by a community of others with similar intentions creates the perfect setting for diving deeper into mindfulness techniques and then applying those techniques outside of the classes and seminars. Basic activities such as walking back to your room or brewing tea or eating dinner can take on deeper significance when greater awareness is placed on those actions. When a cohesive group shares the common aim of mindfulness, it enhances the experience for everyone.
Experiment with New Activities One of the best ways to really encourage mindfulness is to immerse yourself in a new experience. Yoga retreats set the stage for just that. You’ll get a chance to explore a new locale and potentially a new culture. Being someplace novel or trying something new often frees you to experience the sensation of “beginner’s mind” – a concept from Zen Buddhism that connotes a feeling of openness and exploration, free of judgment or goals. Your awareness expands and the subtle details come into greater focus.
If you venture out, you may be visiting an historic church, an ancient temple or another sacred place. You might shop at a local bazaar or wander cobblestone streets trod by generations of travelers before you. Or maybe you’ll try an exciting activity like riding a zip-line or learning to surf or sea kayaking out on the ocean. Any of these activities can pull you right into the present moment, where you feel fully aware – of thoughts in your mind, sensations in your body, and the wonder of the world around you. This unification of thought and feeling in the present moment is the experience of mindfulness. Being on a yoga retreat gives you so many opportunities to
explore it in depth as well as learn how to cultivate that feeling so that you can integrate it into your daily life upon your return. Prana del Mar is a premier beachfront yoga retreat in mexico. Located at the southern tip of the Baja peninsula featuring luxurious rooms & suites, delicious cuisine & internationally-acclaimed yoga teachers. Come on a yoga vacation to one of the most beautiful mexico yoga retreats & wellness retreats in Mexico. For more details of all inclusive yoga retreats, visit our website - pranadelmar.com