On the move to Italy in January this year I was welcomed with two metres of snowfall, Champoluc and the Monterosa mountain range were looking magnificent. Everyone skiing in the Alps this winter had the best snow conditions we have seen for many years and, all of you I am sure, have incredible stories to share and savor for many seasons to come.

We too had days of exhilarating off piste skiing, exploring the routes and fresh snow with some wonderful people, sharing some special moments high up above Champoluc, Gressoney and Alagna in the Olen, Indren, Salza and Bettolina routes. See some of the action on our face book page where videos and photographs are posted.

Now my attention has turned to the summer programme of hiking, yoga, meditation and mindfulness learnings. We have four Outdoor Mindfulness weeks planned in July and September and one very special week where Dr William Bloom will be leading the Shambhala Experience. Here are the dates:

Shambhala Experience  September 16th - 23rd with Dr William Bloom.

Outdoor Mindfulness July 14th - 21st / 21st - 28th. September 1st - 8th / 8th - 15th.

The Monterosa mountain range sits above the Valley D’Ayas, North West Italy, near Aosta and is the perfect venue for being in relatively isolated landscape of mid-altitude forests and higher glacial terrain and lakes. The Outdoor Mindfulness weeks incorporate hiking, yoga, meditation and learning mindfulness into a holiday which explores the mountains on foot, nature and your own meditation practice.

A typical day will include energising yoga and calming meditation before breakfast, walking / hiking during the day with some mindfulness teachings along the way. On our return to the Hotel Castor return there is a restorative yoga session with meditations before dinner. Social and sharing time is valued each day whilst we walk, hike and eat nutritious Italian food where all dietary requirements are catered for. Our venue for the Outdoor Mindfulness weeks is Hotel Castor in the center of Champoluc and its from here that we will venture into the mountains each day. Read more about the Hotel Castor.

Practicing mindfulness in the outdoors brings us closer to nature and the essential elements of life, earth, water, air, wood and metal.  Through activities such as walking, hiking, yoga, meditation and breath work, when practiced in the outdoors, results in positive effects on our energy levels. The bodies chakra points become more open enabling the body and mind to see and change limiting beliefs, thoughts and habits.

When we walk slowly and purposefully for example, in nature, our senses are treated to a vast array of sensations to notice and savor. In this state the body sooths itself and the mind clears of busy thinking. When walking in this way be receptive to the sounds, scents, sights and sensations of the air and temperature on the bodies skin, allow these to linger being curious and non-judgmental, witnessing everything around and inside yourself.

Absorb the way nature shows itself by replicating the sturdiness of trees or the groundedness of mountains in your pose and attitude. Imitate the nature of water in your mind as it flows from its source to the oceans taking the path of least resistance. Inhale the mountain air mirroring the rhythm of its movement through the forests. Allowing the movement of nature to influence us in these ways can have very positive benefits on our health and well-being, physically, mentally and spiritually.

On our Outdoor Mindfulness holidays, we enjoy the landscape and rest our minds, renewing our energies and exercising our bodies. Here’s some of the ways in which you benefit:

  • Extend your appreciation of nature and foster connections to its energy.
  • Experience the exhilaration and vitality of exercising in the outdoors.
  • Learn new meditation practices and renew your approaches to sitting.
  • Engage in mindfulness activities and share with others your experiences.
  • Explore how mindfulness can support you in being centred and grounded.
  • Energise yourself and learn ways of maintaining your energy and focus in everyday life.
  • Enjoy being part of a group of like-minded people and grow in one’s capacity for awareness, tolerance, compassion, resilience, clarity, insight and well-being.

For more details see www.mindfulmountains.com

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John Arnold April 2018 copyright.