Mindfulness is for life not just for Christmas.

Dear friends,

we wish you all a happy and healthy Christmas and new year. For many of us however the Christmas and New Year period can be challenging. Stress, anxiety and depression are common states of mind for many over this period. The practice of Mindfulness and Mindful Walking can be a real help when we experience such emotional suffering.

Make a pledge to yourself over these next few weeks to make space and time for yourself. Whenever these strong feelings arise take 5 and come back to your breath, come back to your body. Mindful breathing and enjoying our steps mindfully can be our anchor when we feel strong emotions. Even when we are walking from one room to the next or using the stairs at home we can practice mindful walking. Stopping, coming back to our breath, coming back to our body and being aware of every step that we take.

Please do take the time to go outdoors in some of our beautiful green parks, gardens and the great outdoors over the next few weeks and practice Mindful walking. Take time to appreciate the blue sky or maybe the snow, the frost or even the rain. Take time to practice gratitude for all that we do have at this time of year, becoming aware and mindful of the happiness and joy that we can experience at this time of years.

We’ll be taking part in Belfast City Council’s ‘Take 5’ campaign which is aimed at our emotional resilience, well-being and mental health. In January and February many of us suffer from the January blues. So why not join us on one of five special Mindful walks offered as part of the ‘Take 5’ campaign. Here are the details of walks covering all parts of Belfast and offered on Saturdays.

person-walking-snow

Date          Location                  Time

17/01/15        Whiterock Park  12.00pm

24/01/15        Victoria Park      12.00pm

31/01/15        Woodvale Park  12.00pm

07/02/15        Ormeau Park     12.00pm

14/02/15        Waterworks Park 12.00pm

Remember…..Mindfulness is for life not just for Christmas.

Winding down for Christmas

Dear friends we’ll be winding down for Christmas and as such we’ll only have one more walk before the Christmas holidays. Next Monday December 15th we’ll return to the Ormeau Park for the last Mindful Walk of 2014. We’ll meet at 10am at the main entrance to the Park by the Ormeau Bridge on the Ormeau Road. Wrap up warm and ideally wear walking boots or shoes. The woodland trails are beautiful at this time of year and what better way to escape the commercialism and mayhem of the retail side of contemporary Christmas than to take an hour for yourself to ‘stop, breathe and enjoy your steps in mindfulness outdoors in nature’.

We will return in the new year with a series of Saturday Mindful walks in parks all over Belfast in January and February. More details here next week.

For now “Smile, breathe and go slowly.” Thich Nhat Hanh.Go-slowly-quotes-by-Thich-Nhat-Hanh-Smile-breath-and-go-slowly

Dear friends here the details of this week’s walks beginning Monday 8th December.

Enjoy a Mindful walk along the river Lagan from Shaw’s Bridge to Minnowburn. This is a beautiful walk at a beautiful time of year. We’ll meet at Shaw’s Bridge on the actual bridge at 10am. From there we will walk along the River Lagan to the Minnowburn before winding our way up through native woodland to the secret Terrace Hill Garden with it’s magical views over Belfast. From there we’ll continue through the woods and return via the River Lagan Towpath to Shaw’s Bridge. This walk will take approx 1.5hours. Please wrap up warm and wear comfortable but stout and supportive footwear.

http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2012/may/12/giants-ring-trail-belfast-walk

When we practice Mindful Walking we are meditating together. We walk slowly as a group, following our guide. We choose to walk in silence. The silence can be nourishing. We come back to our bodies, our footsteps, our breath and we smile. Smiling to each other, smiling to the river, smiling to the birdsong, smiling to Mother Earth.

On Wednesday 10th December we have our weekly lunch time walk in Botanic Gardens. You are invited to join us for a shorter walk over lunchtime in the beautiful Belfast Botanic Gardens. We will enjoy walking solidly, in the present moment and enjoy the seasons changing. We will meet at 1pm in front of the Palm House and hope to enjoy the cool breeze, the birds singing and hopefully the blue skies and sunshine again!

‘Nowhere to go, nothing to do, no longer in a hurry’
Thich Nhat Hanh.

Barnetts Demesne 4