According to biomedical scientist Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979, mindful meditation is being aware, paying attention, being in the present moment, letting go of the need to judge, and focusing on your breathing.
Using Kabat-Zinn’s guidelines you can begin your personal journey to living more mindfully in a myriad of ways.
You can practice being mindful while washing the dishes or picking the kids up from school. If you’d like to experiment, here is a list of unique places in Central Florida to be mindful.
Magnolia Park (2929 S. Binion Rd. Apopka 32703): This 56-acre camping area and park is tucked away on the east bank of Lake Apopka. It’s home to an ostentation of peacocks that call loudly to each other. You can watch the males parade around fluttering their bright tail feathers or visit a small playground and butterfly garden. There’s also plenty of shady areas to enjoy a picnic. Part of the Lake Apopka Loop Trail, this is a great place to pay attention.
The Salt Room and Wellness Spa (508 N. Mills Ave., Suite C Orlando 32803): In Europe, salt caves have been used to support the respiratory system and promote skin health. The Salt Room also offers vibrational therapy where singing bowls are placed directly on your body and a practitioner strikes the bowls. The ancient practice is believed to help
relieve tension in muscles. Either of these services may be a good way to focus on your breathing.
Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake (3401 S. Hiawassee Rd. Orlando 32835): Designed with the nature-lover in mind, this 183-acre park has a little bit of everything: hiking, horses, aquatic sports, disc golf, playgrounds, bird watching, grilling, and the list goes on and on. For only $5 per car, you can park and meander the scrub forest around Turkey Lake. Take a walk or bike along the trails (paved and dirt) here. Don’t forget to visit the barnyard animal area where you can say hello to pigs, a mule and chickens and let off any judgements.
Wekiwa Springs State Park & Wekiva River (1800 Wekiwa Cir. Apopka 32712): Known for its kayaking and canoeing and the 72-degree Wekiwa Springs that feed it, Wekiva River is a lovely fresh-water river with Spanish moss-covered trees canopying it. While on the river you can practice being in the moment and let go of the past or the future so that you don’t miss the black bears, bald eagles, white-tailed deer, great blue herons, otters, turtles, tortoises, foxes, and alligators that have been spotted in the area at different times of the year.