During the time leading up to Christmas I read that 40% of Australians are feeling rushed and pressed for time and that issues related to personal finance are the top source of stress. This so called festive season is for many an anxiety driven experience, where the pressure of family expectations, social commitments and the cost of Christmas presents can lead to people having increased cortisol and heart rate levels combined with an overall negative and/or drained life experience and energy. So maybe it is THE time to practice mindfulness?
Mindfulness is such an "in-expression" these days, but what is it? Before the whole mindfulness -trend started it was called in the Yoga world "expanded or heightened awareness". This different awareness one would practice while doing asanas (yoga postures) as well as during the practices of pranayama (breathing techniques) and as a result one would not only have an easier time getting into meditation practice but this heightened awareness could also then flow naturally into every day life activities. Basically it would show effects on our interactions with others and with how we do things or work. What we call now mindfulness was called training the outside observer, the witness within us. It has become very popular to promote mindfulness at the workplace, because one has found that through the practices of mindfulness the attitude of the person and therefore also the behaviour changed into a more conscious one. One point no-one has talked about so far is the most important part that it should develop, and that is a connection with one's heart. As my Yogamaster Swami Satyananda said we have to know which parts of our life require the head (the mind) and which ones the heart (feeling and compassion). I would like to say during the festive season this year let's move from observing the mind to expanding the heart and act from there rather than from the mind. Let's practice "heartfulness". Through this practice where we allow ourselves first to look and observe what's going on inside us and then move our awareness into our heart and allow ourselves to truly feel, we will have a fresher outlook onto this year's festive season and we will know what and who is important to us and create a truly festive season.