The theory of mindfulness has been around for some time now, encouraging lots of us to stay focused on the present moment. Useful in combating mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, or addiction, finding a permanent place for this practice in our lives should be given priority or at least exploration. If you’re looking for some guidance in this field here are some festivals, retreats, and events across the world to help you expand your mindfulness in the new year.
1. Club Soda Mindful Drinking Festival — London, England
Most of us can say shamefacedly that we certainly didn’t exercise mindfulness when it came to drinking over the festive period. If you’re feeling the alcohol guilt, this alcohol-free drinking festival is the ideal place for you. Though hard to believe, it demonstrates that great drinks don’t always need alcohol and that having fun at a festival can be fueled by superfood juices rather than vodka. To help you channel drinking mindfulness, there are lifestyle talks by experts as well as inspirational stories by teetotallers. The Mindful Drinking Festival is free to attend and is held over January 12 and 13.
2. Winter Expedition with Wim Hof — Poland
If mindfulness for you means meditating on a sunny beach in Mexico, then Wim Hof’s program is definitely not for you. Wim Hof has become famous for his breathing and meditation exercises which enable him to withstand extremely cold temperatures and hold his breath for long periods. This form of breathing is said to increase energy levels and reduce stress. You can learn some of these methods at Wim’s one-day training sessions held around the world, or you can go all in with a winter expedition in snowy Poland where you’ll find yourself bearing lots of flesh in sub-zero temperatures.
3. A Mindful Society Conference 2019 — Toronto, Canada
Now in its 5th year, A Mindful Society Conference is the answer for those passionate about applying mindfulness in their daily lives and jobs beyond the retreat. This event brings together over 900 attendees and speakers from countries all over the world, who talk about using mindfulness in healthcare, education, business, and many other areas of society. The keynote speaker this year is renowned neuroscientist and mindfulness leader Dr. Dan Siegel. Besides the talks, remember to take a little time to yourself and visit the Breathing Space to get involved in guided practice sessions by expert teachers.
4. The BioDynamic Breathwork & Trauma Release System Training — Poland
This program, also in Poland, is all about breathing techniques and conscious movement aimed at trauma release. The power of the breath is used to release emotional and physical stress, leaving you able to connect with yourself on a more profound level. It also helps you manage your relationships with other people, and during the sessions, students take on various different roles and responsibilities in order to develop personally and professionally.
5. Amanpuri Awareness — Thailand
Sometimes traditional methods are the best, as this retreat in Thailand shows. It ticks all the mindfulness boxes with teaching from a former Buddhist monk, yoga, meditation, reconnective healing, and reiki to help you find inner stillness. Located in a former coconut plantation on the coast, the view of a glittering turquoise sea will also aid reflection. You can really take advantage of your surroundings with water sports, beach activities, and dining that overlooks the beach.
6. The Best You EXPO 2019 — London, England
Head to London in mid-February for two days of intense mindfulness inspiration. This free event brings together expert coaches, teachers, and authors who will give talks and demonstrations on wellness topics ranging from stress management to how to increase confidence levels. The event has many different zones that focus on everything from “Passion to Profit” to “Empowering Women.” And there’s a yoga and meditation zone too, of course. The event is a perfect place to meet like-minded people looking to improve their lives and find more meaning in the world.
7. Mindful You-Mindful Me — North Dakota, United States
Mindful You-Mindful Me is aimed at kids and teenagers, helping them to manage stress, become more resilient, increase attention span, and discover kindness and generosity thus reducing problems like bullying in schools. Heidi Demars, the founder of Mindful You-Mindful Me, is an occupational therapist and TEDx speaker and is dedicated to teaching yoga and mindfulness to children. She’s holding classes on February 2 that aim to create “calm, resilient, connected kids and teens.”