One of our favourite things to do here at Mindful Future is to go to festivals. We’ve just come back from our annual week at Green Man festival in Glanusk Park and will soon be heading off for a weekend at The Big Cwtch to see out the summer in style.
I’ve been thinking about the reasons I love festivals so much, and as I listed them I was interested in the connection between festivals and mindfulness.
At a festival we make new connections with like-minded people and connect more deeply with the loved ones that come along with us. We also have the opportunity to renew our connection with ourselves, taking time to do the things we enjoy, to rest and relax both body and mind. In mindfulness practice we connect mind with body and feel emotions as physical sensations.
A festival is an opportunity to show our appreciation of music, food, family and friends. Mindfulness helps us to accept and appreciate the present moment, whatever it might bring. Coming together with a group of people to appreciate these things together is, for me, an important part of being at a festival and also the reason why I enjoy the process of sharing mindfulness in a group practice.
At festivals like Green Man and The Big Cwtch, we can experience living in beautiful natural surroundings and this has always been an important aspect of festivals for me. Spending time outdoors, sleeping under the stars (ok then, in a tent!), being exposed to the elements. There is much scientific evidence to prove that regular exposure to daylight is beneficial to our mood and in my own mindfulness practice, I have found that there is an intrinsic connection between my wellbeing and spending time outdoors in nature.
There is something about festivals that seems to give people permission to let go and be their authentic self. It feels much easier to be playful and have fun and to accept the same playfulness in others. At a festival I feel like I can do whatever I feel like, without being afraid of what others might think. In mindfulness, we accept ourselves, our thought, emotions and physical feelings in the present moment.
Reflecting on why I love festivals, I can see that they are an extension of the many benefits I receive from mindfulness practice. The deepening feeling of wellbeing I get from both is reason enough to keep on enjoying them year after year. Long may they continue.
We will be giving away free places on guided meditation sessions at The Big Cwtch festival in Crugybar, Carmarthenshire on Saturday 10th September 2016. Come along and meet us and get some mindfulness for free! For tickets, go to www.thebigcwtch.com. See you there.
Jo is a director of Mindful Future and an accredited Breathworks Mindfulness Teacher. Breathworks is one of the leading Mindfulness organisations in the UK