Claudia Mirallegro on how nature and nurture can create your best self
Mindfulness may be the holy grail of modern wellness. We’ve all heard of the mystical method that encourages a calmer more relaxed state. And we all know that cutting screen time and switching off from work stresses can help us in the pursuit of mindfulness. But actually pursuing mindfulness can feel like yet another task to juggle in our ever busy lives. Sometimes it’s hard enough just squeezing in your five a day, let alone making time to meditate on your lunch break.
But for Manchester yogi Claudia Mirallegro, mindfulness is a daily practice. A 108-day daily practice, to be exact. Whilst for many such a challenge might seem extreme, for Mirallegro its really very simple.
“[Mindfulness] can be as easy as fully listening to the person who’s is speaking to you. Or really noticing the smell and taste of your food,” the fitness influencer and yoga teacher explains. “But the business of life clutters our minds and makes us drop out of the present moment.
“But really life is simple. If you’ve been following along, you would have noticed the simplicity behind every tool and tip that vary from reminding you to take deeper breaths to encouraging you to get good quality sleep."
Mindfulness is practicing presence, without wishing things were different.
So, what is mindfulness?
“Mindfulness is practicing presence, without wishing things were different,” Mirallegro explains. “I like to see it as, taking the time to do the things that uplift you. Taking the time to raise your vibration. Taking the time to be fully aware. Awareness is key. If you practice anything with more awareness you are on the way to living a more mindful life.”
Mirallegro is sharing her experience of through social media, offering tips and advice to her loyal following of over 10k Instagram followers. She hopes that showcasing the challenge in this way will help to demonstrate actionable ways we can all be more mindful day to day.
“I believe with every spec of my being that with more awareness, compassion, kindness and treatment we can all lead happier, healthier lives. Remember mindfulness is a skill. A life-enhancing skill. Imagine if you practiced that skill for 108 days – oh the joy!”
the individual numbers 1-0-8 represent the individual, completeness and infinity respectfully.
Whilst 3 months of daily mindfulness might seem intensive, Mirallegro highlights that there’s spiritual significance of the figure.
“As well as being mind & body enriched for over 3 months, the number 108 aligns with many mindful practices around the world,” Mirallegro continues. “In Hinduism and Buddhism, there are 108 beads on a mala. In Ayurveda there are 108 marma points (similar to acupuncture points). In yoga philosophy 108 shows up in many ancient texts. And the individual numbers 1-0-8 represent the individual, completeness and infinity respectfully.”
So, how can the quest to a more mindful life be made more realistic? We asked Claudia to share her best tips.
1. Practise gratitude with a happiness jar
“I love LOVE L O V E this idea by Elizabeth Gilbert. All you have to do is write a note each day/week of the good things that you experienced. At the end of you the year you can visually see how much you’ve achieved and how much happiness you felt during the process. It’s a really, really cute way of practising gratitude. Taking the time to be thankful lifts your mood. As Robert Brault said: 'enjoy the little things, for one day you will look back and realise they were the big things'.”
2. Embrace ecotherapy
“Seriously, what’s better than nature? It does so much for us. Whether that means going for a nice walk at your local park, swimming in the ocean, going for a hike, or even camping, it’s so important to get out of the house. Being outdoors nurtures out “nature neurons” which boosts your mood and lower stress levels. So go on, get your ecotherapy on.”
3. Enjoy mindful exercise: yoga
“Yoga shifts your perspective. For me, yoga has been life-changing, mentally. It’s allowed me to make peace with myself, to grow, to connect. I really believe it helps us all function at a higher level. To tap back into our presence by holding power poses. And to come back to the very moment we’re in by focusing on our breath. When you are in the present moment, past/present/future cannot bother you. Yoga completely sparks your inner positive and present champion. My signature Yoga Sculpt class is centred around this (weekly on Wednesdays at lululemon St Ann's Square, 6pm-7pm).”
4. Fuel your body right
“You are what you eat. That statement is quiet literal. Your food is the key instrument to building a healthy body. HEALTHY BODY = HEALTHY MIND. When you begin to treat your body with love and nourishment, everything else begins to flourish too. Because you are building your body with strong materials. Food is fuel and nutrient-rich food is medicine for your body. Foods to add to the menu are mushrooms, turmeric, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), chia seeds, garlic, blueberries, seaweed, and more."
Check out Claudia's #WhatIEat food diary here
5. Take a social media break
“In a world ruled by social media, that thrives off approval and followers and likes, it is easy to get caught up and forget your worth and your value. The constant overload of everyone’s best bits can push you into comparison mode. That’s why if I notice myself aimlessly scrolling, I check myself before I wreck myself. I step back. Take a break. Disconnecting is liberating. It’s freeing. I’ll read. Rest. Recharge. And I instantly feel re-inspired which makes a difference in my performance overall.
"Ultimately you are in control.If you do start to feel your cortisol levels rising then it’s time to step back. Recognise your thoughts and recharge yourself with the tips above.”