In today’s busy world, many of us often sacrifice our physical and mental wellbeing to get things done. Working musicians, myself included, are often heard to say “I don’t have time for exercise, I need to practice”, or “I don’t have time to meditate, I’m too stressed about the concert”.
At the Brazilian Jazz Harp Immersion, every day began with a “Sunrise Walk” along the mountain at Uaná Etê. Initially, the thought of trudging up a mountain before many of us had even had a coffee seemed overwhelming; we were still half asleep from our late night practice sessions! But as the week continued, this became a true highlight of the day.
Cristina Braga would lead us up the mountain each morning for one hour to discuss nature, our physical selves, and our mentally focused wellbeing. The walk would often combine a meditation session in the endless forest with gentle stretching and exercises. Cristina would read from the poet Rumi, or encourage us to listen to the different sounds in this secluded area, and how they changed. The walk always finished with the whole group singing the bossa nova jazz standard “Agua de Beber” by Brazilian songwriter Tom Jobim, as we returned down the mountain, sometimes with some very imaginative choreography! These walks both relaxed our minds and awakened our bodies for the intensive day ahead.
Even though I live in a city, and unfortunately not in a mountain side forest, the walks made me realise how important it was for me to connect with nature on a regular basis, and how crucial it is to find time for meditation and self connection, on a physical and spiritual level. I’m trying to find a way to achieve this somehow into my morning routine, perhaps even by walking to the nearest park to stretch and sit under a tree. Do you have any mindful morning routines that you do before you start your day, or before practicing?