What is mindfulness, anyway? It’s a real hot topic these days, or at least so it seems on Social Media.
It’s just under three weeks until Christmas and if you are like me, you are pacing around the shopping centres or online shopping in a mad panic. In a fit of desperation, you buy the nearest thing you can find – a cheap, sweat-shop-made sarong from a big-box store. Not such a healthy approach to the festive season.
In the run-up to Christmas I find my to-do lists overwhelming. If I am perfectly honest, I find Christmas can be a very stressful time. There are added things-to-do: present shopping (which can mean added financial stress!), card writing, preparing to travel or receive guests. I am bombarded with adverts telling me what to buy and where. I tackle the shopping crowds (and everything else!) and my energy is pulled in all directions while I push on working and waiting for the holiday to arrive.
This year, I have made the pledge to try something different, and you can too!
With Australians alone set to spend a record $48 billion on Christmas this year, people are being urged to make more mindful decisions when it comes to gift giving.
In short mindfulness is: the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something; a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Whether you believe this or not, science has shown that increasing our mindfulness can lead to a variety of health benefits such as reduced stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, reduced chronic pain, and improved sleep.
Mindfulness can be applied to many activities including eating and exercise and yes, even your Christmas shopping!
Before you hit the shops or log in to the online world — go for a ride on your bike (or something else that makes you feel good). You can practice mindfulness while you ride; follow your breath, meaning to focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale. Attempt to maintain a natural breath, not controlling the breath, but simply noticing the sensation of breath moving into the body and out of the body. Notice how your breath changes as you increase speed or climb a hill. Notice your pedaling as your legs rise and fall with each movement. Is there a rhythm to your breath and regular consistent cadence as you spin the pedals?
Integrating mindfulness into your life can improve both the quality of your wellbeing and your life. As you continue to practice mindfulness in your cycling, yoga and everyday life, you will notice an increased awareness of your body, feelings and thoughts.
Once you’ve found a calmer approach to help you enter the Festive season, the lead up will feel so much lighter, you will be less overwhelmed and ready for this magical time of year!
If you’re struggling to find the perfect gift, I've got some alternates to the sweat-shop generic brands and a few of my favorite things. You can see the suggestions below. Whether you are a yogi, a cyclist, both or know someone who is , then keep scrolling and remember to inhale and exhale!
Finally, from myself and all the team at Soulfit Adventures, we'd like to say thank you for your continued support and wish you and your families a fabulous, festive and very Merry Christmas. And don't forget, life is an adventure, take risks...
A FEW OF SOULFIT ADVENTURES FAVORITE THINGS...
EKO SUPERLITE (tm) TRAVEL MAT
A personal favorite and the perfect accessory for travel yogis, Manduka's eKO SuperLite Travel Mat . The mat provides superior grip on carpet or hard surfaces. The best part though is that it's only 1.5 mm thick, it folds to fit easily in your bag or suitcase! These eco-friendly yoga mats are made of a natural, biodegradable material. They leave no footprint in landfills, and is the ideal yoga travel mat for people who want to make a commitment to our planet and take their yoga practice on the road. These eco-friendly yoga mats are made of biodegradable rubber that won't fade or flake.
GIRO PELOTON GAP
The Peloton™ Cap might be the most versatile accessory a rider can have on a warm day. It provides a bit of shade from the sun, a layer of insulation when it’s cool or windy, and it wicks sweat when the heat rises, too. The must have summer cycling accessory is perfect for under your helmet on your long summer rides. As an added bonus, it’s perfect to hide unsightly helmet hair at post ride coffee!
GREEN JUICE SKIN BALM
HEALTHY, ORGANIC SKIN SAVER BALM
This 100% natural barrier repair balm will help soothe, soften and condition the skin is one of my favorites which I use year around. It’s ideal under your sunscreen to keep you skin baby bottom smooth!
100% Australian owned and made. Contains nothing bad for you. Does not test on animals.
MAAP, another favorite Australian brand.
I especially love the range of bright, fresh summery colours and designs, and their socks are the perfect stocking filler!
WE’AR FOR MEN AND WOMEN
Another personal favorite, WE’AR. In support of the urban yoga lifestyle, WE’AR design intelligent separates that take you from the mat to the street, and back again, without compromising your sartorial style or higher principles. Organic where possible and always ethical.
We love the Tassel Tank
Carefully crafted from luxe bamboo twill and detailed with multiple covered buttons, the Tassel Tank is a delicate piece of art.
LIV TOOL CAPSULE
Ladies, organize, store and protect your riding essentials all in one place! Fits in a conventional water bottle cage or jersey pocket.
Soulfit Adventures Gift Card
And, finally I couldn’t wrap the year up without offering the ULTIMATE Christmas Gift: A Soulfit Adventures Retreat in Bali, Tuscany, Spain, Cambodia or a gift card for that someone special to put towards their retreat!
Gift cards to the value of: $250, $500, $1000