We are now well into the second month of the new year. Work has returned, the kids are back at school and life is quickly filling up with responsibilities and commitments.
Perhaps in the occasional quiet moments you’ve reflected on your summer holiday – a time when routine was non-existent, days flowed into nights, and beach days left you feeling calm and relaxed.
It was perhaps during those summer holiday moments that you made a commitment to yourself to savour more of “this time”; to not get caught up in the craziness that can sometimes swamp our lives.
How are you tracking towards the intentions you set for yourself this year?
This is often a phrase I use in yoga classes. We begin our practice by setting an intention. Then, about two thirds of the way through class, we stop to still the body, reconnect with the breath and revisit our intention.
Sometimes we are so busy “doing” (in life and on our yoga mat) that we lose sight of the path we intended to travel.
Rather than waiting for the next holiday, here are some ways you can bring more mindfulness into your daily life and stay connected to your intentions.
The simple act of taking 15 minutes to go outside, sit in stillness and breathe deeply into your body, can completely change the way you feel.
In times of stress or rushing we are often not breathing to our full capacity.
By breathing into the bottom of the belly and drawing the breath up into the ribs and chest, then exhaling the breathe from the chest, ribs and belly, (Maharaja Pranayama – 3 Part Yogic Breath) we naturally slow our breathing. This switches on the parasympathetic nervous system, enabling the body to rest and recover.
Mindfulness in daily life
Author of Buddhism for Mothers, Sarah Napthali, says ‘mindfulness is an awareness of all the present moment contains: the sensations in your body, your feelings, perceptions, assumptions and tendencies.’ 
While we can’t always control situations in our lives, we have a conscious choice in how we react.
There are many examples of daily activities that we flow through without mindfulness. Examples may include: eating, doing housework, driving, listening, or interacting with family and friends (without iPhones).
Take a moment to think about the things you do in a day. Can you bring more awareness to these things?
Start by bringing mindfulness to something small – like a morning/afternoon ritual. Begin by becoming aware of all the sensations in your body, as you are doing whatever it is you choose. Then observe how this mindful state makes you feel afterwards.
The long-term benefit of mindfulness is that it makes us more aware of how things make us feel. This self-awareness enables us to make more conscious choices towards things that bring us joy and resonate on a deeper level.
Another way to bring mindfulness into your life is by connecting with nature. What I love about nature connection from the perspective of mindfulness is that it encourages “stopping” and taking time out.
Have you ever sat in nature and simply observed?
Have you ever marveled at the beauty and vibrational sound of a cascading waterfall deep in a eucalyptus forest? Have you ever watched clouds form and disperse in the sky until they are nothing more than wisps of white in a sea of blue? Or sat snuggled on a beach as the sand becomes cold, and watched the sun slip behind the sea? Or laid on the Earth so still that you could hear your heart beat; or was it the Earth’s?
Lessons surround us in nature, if we just take the time to connect.
In the words of Eckhart Tolle –
“Look at a tree, a flower, a plant. Let your awareness rest upon it. How still they are, how deeply rooted in Being. Allow nature to teach you stillness.”
Read more: http://www.wildplacesyoga.com.au/mindfulness/