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My favourite ways to practise mindfulness outside

September is North York Moors Mindfulness month, as always I am very pleased to be offering our yoga by the sea sessions in Whitby & Sandsend as part of this programme to highlight the benefits of mindful activities on our wellbeing. We also have a lovely evening of Harvest Moon firelight yoga planned at Coast & Camplight a beautiful off grid glamping site near Whitby, I'm really looking forward to hosting this special event which sold out within a week.

So what is mindfulness? The Oxford dictionary describes it as follows "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". Here are a few of my favourite ways to take a little time out of the day to practise mindfulness.

Watch the sunrise - I love to be there at the start of the day sitting on a log on my favourite beach watching the sun slowly creep it's way above the horizon. There is something special about taking the time to watch the day begin and here on the North Yorkshire Coast we are blessed with some truly spectacular locations to watch the sun come up. The beauty of September is you don't have to get up quite so early to make the most of this special part of the day!

Sunrise over Cayton Bay, shingly beach in the foreground with large driftwood log

Yoga by the sea - There is something very special about practising yoga outside, especially when it is by the sea. Noticing all the sounds of the beach as you flow from one pose to another, whilst feeling the gentle ocean spray against your skin. As we move through September we can combine watching the sunrise with our early morning yoga by the sea classes in Sandsend, Filey and Scarborough.

Collecting sea glass - Taking the time to look for sea glass, gives your mind a focal point that is simple and easy to follow. You can lose all sense of time as you keep looking for that perfect piece!

Sitting out back waiting for a wave to surf - I love to surf even if I'm still not that good at it after all these years! Whether I'm having a great session or not on the waves, there is something very special about sitting on your board watching the horizon as you wait for the next set to come through.

A walk on the beach - Taking a stroll on the beach, listening to the sounds of the sea and feeling the salty breeze on your skin does wonders to clear the mind.

Wild swimming - When the sea is calm I enjoy heading in for a swim, one of my favourite spots is at high tide at my local beach, Cayton Bay. Swimming in the bay, early in the morning with all the birds singing in the trees and the water gently lapping around you really does help to put the mind at ease.

Litter picking - Just like collecting sea glass you have a focal point to follow with the added bonus of doing your bit for the planet while you do it. Whenever I visit the beach I try to do a 2 minute beach clean. It can be quite meditative just searching for that next bit of rubbish! Why not join us for our final Planet Patrol litter pick of the season on World clean up day, Sunday 18th September.

Stand up Paddleboarding - When the sea is flat, if I'm not heading in for a swim then you can find me on my stand up paddle board. Taking in the view of the coast from the ocean while listening to the sound of the sea as I paddle across the water.

I think there may be a theme to my favourite ways to practise mindfulness, the sea seems never to be too far away! Research shows that the ocean can have such a positive affect on our wellbeing. if you are interested in reading more about it, there is a good book called Blue Mind by Wallace. J. Nichols.


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