One of the most effective ways to increase awareness and happiness is by practicing mindful rituals on a daily basis. In a world where it is easy to get disconnected through distractions, multitasking and digital devices, mindfulness brings back alignment and connection with the present moment.
Practicing mindfulness allows one to mute what the Buddha called the “monkey mind,” the little voices that prevent clarity and focus. Meditation, therapeutic art, even the simple act of conscious breathing, allows the endocrine system to relax and the body to feel calm.
For those who are new to mindfulness, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong Senior Director of Spa Shoshana Weinberg advises that meditation begins and ends with the breath. “Set an intention as air is inhaled and exhaled in slow, rhythmic deep breathing. This process allows the endocrine system to relax the body to feel calm.”
From meditation to art therapy, there are many ways to get started on a path to mindful living:
Self-Guided Meditation: Today, meditation apps can be found on smartphones and androids, allowing for sessions as short as three minutes, whether on a taxi or at work. Four Seasons offers guests the opportunity to meditate at their own pace using the popular Calm and Headspace apps on tablets provided in the Spa relaxation lounge and Nail Bar.
Group Guided Meditation: Once a month, guests are invited to join Senior Director of Spa Shoshana Weinberg as she leads a small group gathering in celebration of the full moon. Channeling the universal energy in abundance on full moon days, Weinberg leads the group through a series of reflections and deep breathing in combination with Tibetan singing bowls, aromatherapy, and energetic crystals.
Art Therapy: Colouring is known to shape our senses, sharpen intuition and help to let go of low vibrational energy allowing the mind to wander back to a present and calm state. Whether the goal is to touch a higher consciousness or simply reconnect with the inner child, guests of Four Seasons can tap into their creative instincts with specially designed colouring pages and coloured pens available for relaxation in the Spa and Nail Bar.
Holistic Healing: For those who wish to experience a deeper mindfulness practice, the Spa at Four Seasons Hong Kong created several treatments designed to deepen the connection to a higher plane. Vital Energy Crystal Healing combines the restorative powers of crystals, singing bowls, and hands on touch healing while the half day Nourish the Soul experience builds on the previous treatment including a meditative tea ceremony, floral bath, sage smudging, and conscious eating with a vegan lunch.
Centre and Calm Yourself and Spirit on Restorative Yoga Energy Trail
Bring oneness to your yoga experience, Landaa-style, with the Yoga Energy Trail at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, an inspiring exploration of self and surroundings against myriad mind-blowing UNESCO Biosphere Reserve viewpoints.
Weaving through the Resort’s jungle interior and dazzling beachfront, guests can opt to explore the trail themselves or join a daily class, guided by the Resort’s yogi. The experience? A 75-minute study of strength, flexibility and endurance – suffused with all the energy-boosting benefits of the tropical surrounds.
Wooden signs at each of the 15 stations guide guests of medium fitness, aged 12 and above, around some of the island’s most scenic vantage points – enabling them to see, feel, smell and hear nature, thus stimulating the senses while challenging the body.
“Each station targets various areas of the body – focusing on balance, strength, agility, flexibility, stretching and toning,” explains Dr. Shylesh Subramanya, Director of The Spa & Ayurvedic Retreat. “The idea is to engage guests in an energetic exploration of themselves via the island’s most inspiring settings: from ‘tree pose’ overlooking the lagoon to ‘sun salutations’ on the jetty to ‘hanging firefly’ beneath the island’s largest Banyan tree.”
Developed in conjunction with the Resort’s Ayurvedic physicians, yogis and recreation team, the trail was designed by Nigel Clark – of UK-based Leisure Logs – a former Olympian who combines his passions for wellbeing and environmentally friendly materials to craft creative, timber wellness trails.
Commenting on the added benefits of the Yoga Energy Trail over a more traditional mat-based approach, Dr. Shylesh said: “Each location triggers a different chemical reaction within the body, from the oxygen-absorbing and seratonin-balancing benefits of the sea breeze to the deeply calming properties of the dense jungle greenery. Practising yoga in this way, immersed in a variety of inspirational locations, guests will feel an enhanced boost of energy and restoration to a naturally connected state, where self and surroundings merge in unifying oneness.”
Meditation on a Full Moon
Every month, the striking impression of a moon in its illuminated fullness has held a profound space in marking the passage of time as well as in matters of spiritual and religious importance. Many Eastern religions follow ceremonies to coincide with the moon’s phases. The spiritual development of the Buddha, for example, is believed to track with full moon days. From the fullness of the tides to the deeply held religious beliefs across cultures, the full moon continues to inspire as a time to reflect and receive clarity on internal conditions.
Located among all the exciting happenings in Central, and facing the stunning Victoria Harbour, the Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong offers an authentic and relaxing Full Moon Meditation experience. A natural sanctuary of peace, guests can feel an extra release of tension when entering its soothing environs on full moon days.
Director of Spa Shoshana Weinberg has crafted a unique full moon ritual ideal for newcomers or seasoned practitioners. Weinberg leads the full moon meditations, channeling a universal energy that is both soothing and powerfully healing. The meditation is broken in two parts: one is a guided deep meditation, or savasana, while the other is a seated meditation in silence. Using aromatherapy oils, authentic Tibetan singing bowls, crystals and organic copal, a sacred resin from Mexico, guests can get in touch with a higher sense of focus and consciousness.
Weinberg says, “We call our authentic self to join in ceremony with others in our community to illuminate the deep meanings and messages that life has to offer. The Full Moon Meditation is a safe place to find a quiet moment to discover the silent world that lives in all of us.”
Guests wishing to extend the sense of community are invited to linger over a delicious spread from Executive Chef Andrea Accordi. Chef Accordi tailors dishes to the theme of the full moon and the rhythms of the seasons sourcing the highest quality ingredients from the most trusted, sustainably suppliers.
Don’t have time to walk and meditate? Try them together
The mental and physical merits of walking are well established, from helping ward off depression to preventing heart disease. Meditation, likewise, can help reduce anxiety symptoms and improve sleep quality. Have you considered combining these seemingly very different activities?
Walking meditation, which doesn’t take much of an investment in time or money, can be a good way to reap multiple benefits.
Walking meditation isn’t a stroll in the park or an hour in the lotus position, rather something in between. The goal is to be self-focused and mindful of your body in motion. To get started, consider these steps from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center:
* Find a place that’s relatively free of distractions and where other people won’t make you self-conscious. Your path — whether it’s a hiking trail or a little-used hallway — doesn’t have to be long; the whole point is to go nowhere, slowly — and safely.
* Relax your hands and arms, stand up straight and take a few deep breaths. Take 10 to 15 small, deliberate steps, counting them in your head. Be mindful of the way your feet feel as they rise and land on the ground, weight shifting from heel to toes.
* If your mind wanders, try to push out extraneous thoughts and focus on your breathing or the sights and sounds of your surroundings.
* Pause for a breath, turn around and start again.
Why meditate in the first place? Meditation may help cancer patients by relieving their stress and fatigue. It may reduce blood pressure and alleviate some symptoms of menopause and IBS. There is also evidence that it improves the quality of life for female patients struggling with fibromyalgia by helping them deal with depression and conflict, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Meditation can be good for people of all ages. A Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease study found that meditation may help slow the cognitive decline that leads to Alzheimer’s and dementia. When college students added meditation to walking, they had lower levels of anxiety than when they merely walked for exercise, according to a study in the American Journal of Health Promotion.
As you take a moment to slow down and practice walking meditation, keep in mind that the results can also be slow. Studies have shown benefits after as little as 10 minutes per session, but most were based on practicing four to six days per week for several weeks.
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