London is a city that sometimes you would want to escape. It can be noisy and chaotic, but it also feels energetic and exciting, so at its best London can be exhilarating and inspiring. It can be mindful too. For me mindfulness is a simple concept, it means being in the present moment – right here, right now, without wanting to be somewhere else.
I always wondered why do we need to be more present? I realised it few months after living in London that it’s because…
- our minds are always somewhere between past or future
- our mental chatter never stops
- busyness and distractions of life just happen
- to do lists never end
Even in London one can be more present, awake and aware. The real mindfulness is when you learn to appreciate the little things that can make up your normal daily life in my city.
I have picked top 3 places and wanted to share my mindful guide:
Sky Garden – Architecture & Yoga
It is London’s highest public garden that offer 360 degree uninterrupted views across the City of London. You can book in advance and wander around the exquisitely landscaped gardens, observation decks and an open air terrace. Individual plants have been chosen to work in harmony with the particular quality of light found under the roof canopy. Colour and flowers flourish all year round in the Sky Garden. Have a look and book your visit here!
If you’re really into Sky Yoga then join a flowing vinyasa morning yoga session as the sunrise over the city skyline! Kicking off bright and early the class runs for one hour on the terrace followed by a virtuous and healthy breakfast in City Garden, filled with yoga-inspired treats to be enjoyed in the luscious gardens.
Serpentine Galleries – Mindful art
You can combine art and nature with a walk through Kensington Gardens to visit the Serpentine Galleries where you will find a programme of contemporary art & exhibitions.
The Serpentine Galleries comprises two galleries situated 5 minutes walk from each other on either side of The Serpentine Bridge in the heart of the Royal Park of Kensington Gardens in central London. The Serpentine Gallery, established in 1970, and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects in 2013, present world-renowned exhibitions of art, architecture and design throughout the year. Plan your visit!
Kyoto Garden, Holland Park – Naturally mindful
Holland Park is spread across 54 acres of what used to be the grounds of Cope Castle, a large Jacobean mansion hidden in the woods. It was built by Sir Walter Cope in the early 17th century, who became Chancellor of the Exchequer under King James 1. It was renamed Holland House after the Earl of Holland’s wife Lady Rich inherited the property.
Holland Park Kyoto garden was designed and built by an eminent Japanese Garden designer and his team to celebrate the Japan Festival in London in 1992. It was a co-operative project between the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Kyoto Chamber of Commerce in Japan.
Mindfulness trick: take a few minutes’ break on a bench, feel your feet on the ground, and your bottom on the seat. Your eyes can be closed or open. Notice the contact with the earth and the weight of your body. Bring your awareness to the breath, feeling the physical sensations of breathing without needing to change anything. Feel the gentle breeze of your breath moving in and out of your body. Now open your awareness to other senses. You might like to focus on listening for a few moments, picking up the sounds of birds or people walking nearby. When you find yourself drifting off into thoughts, bring yourself back to the feeling of your weight on the seat, or your breath.