I must admit that I didn’t really know much about mindfulness until I started doing social media for BookMeditationRetreats.com. In my day to day job, I get to read quite a bit about it, going through articles I schedule on our social platforms. And while the concept slowly became familiar, practicing it, not so much. Sure, I’d go hiking and I would immediately become more aware of my surroundings but only because I’ve always loved hiking. Same for traveling and exploring new places. But being aware when it comes to my daily routine, let’s just not talk about that.
Last year I discovered Argentine tango. Soon after, I learned what Argentine tango and meditation have in common. And because of tango, I also ended up at a “wellness and tango weekend”, which included a mindfulness workshop. I had no idea what to expect and I also didn’t set any expectation. I just wanted to enjoy the experience (and secretly hoped I could come up with an article about it afterward).
After waking up too early – that’s what happens to me when I am excited to travel – and after a three and a half hours car ride, half of it on curvy mountains roads, I was eager to relax and enjoy the rest of the day with all its workshops and events planned.
The mindfulness workshop
I arrived just in time for the mindfulness workshop. I wasn’t that surprised that most of us were ladies. Most of the guys who came with us decided to take a nap and only three made it to the workshop.
We started with a short, guided mindfulness meditation. Although relaxation is not the goal of it, I was lucky enough not only to be able to be present in that moment but also to relax.
Then we discussed the topic of the workshop: automatic pilot. While we didn’t go into the details of pros and cons of autopilot, we had a lovely chat about an experience we recently had. We were asked to write down the experience, how it felt in the body, how we felt, what thoughts we had at that moment, and what thoughts we had when we wrote about it.
Being a writer, this task was easy for me. I didn’t struggle to identify the emotions or how the experience felt. We were never forced to talk about, those of us who wanted to, shared the experience with the rest.
A takeaway from this part: do your daily routine but instead of doing everything on automatic pilot, try to be aware. Did a new shop open on your street? Maybe a new graffiti popped up? And how about those lovely flowers that are now in bloom? How do these things make you feel?
The second part started with another guided meditation which focused on how our body felt. We also did meditation with a partner, before one of the tango workshops. While doing it alone didn’t present many challenges to me, when I did it with my husband I could feel so many different things and I found it harder to focus. We did the meditation in the couple outside, in the sun, but the “bonus” was a couple of dogs, belonging to the place we stayed at, decided to protect us and bark at everything moving around.
After the guided meditation focusing on our bodies, we talked a bit about any aches and pain we might have felt. It was a casual chat, and again, no one was forced to share if they didn’t want to.
The mindfulness workshop ended with a non-guided meditation. For me, this was a bit more challenging, but I have found that just focusing on my breathing was enough.
I left the meditation workshop relaxed, energized, and happy. I couldn’t wait for the tango workshops and for the rest of the night.
Photo credit: Cris Puscas.
While I don’t see myself going regularly to mindfulness or meditation classes, let alone meditate daily, I’m very tempted to try some mindfulness and meditation apps. I already use my fitness tracker’s "relax" function when I feel overwhelmed, but that’s just a super simple 2-minute breathing session.
Are you also a novice into the world of mindfulness meditation? Then why not book one of the mindfulness meditation retreats to change your outlook on life.