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Four Steps to Master Mindfulness

One of the world’s leading wellness directors explains how we can live and experience life more fully.

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Photo Credit: Beth Doane
Photo Credit: Beth Doane

Luis Molina learned what it means to find wellness after living across India and Europe — now, he shares those teachings as the spa director at one of the world’s most prestigious resorts — the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita in Mexico. Molina is using the lessons gleaned from meditation and yoga to teach others to fully experience each day through holistic awareness of the body and mind.

“In India I learned that the human mind is like a crazy monkey jumping from place to place, thought to thought. However, once we know that, we can control the mind and find lasting peace,” Molina says.

Luis Molina, spa director at the Four Seasons Punta Mita (Photo credit: Beth Doane)

Molina has more than 20 years of experience working in the wellness space, and the Four Seasons Punta Mita is located at what many say is one of the most sacred areas in Mexico. Mexican pyramids have been found there, and local staff offer traditional healing ceremonies on the property. Molina’s exploration of local traditions, along with meditation and yoga, has helped him discover and embrace a new way of living and being. That’s why he has the word “Live” above his desk, one of the first things I noticed when I met him at Punta Mita.

“My passion is reminding people that life is precious and short, and that we must truly live and experience life in a way that lifts us up,” he explains.

The Punta Mita resort, often referred to as one of the most unique properties in the world, wholly embraces Molina’s philosophy: there are no cars and no concrete. You are meant to be immersed in nature; along the meandering paths through the lush landscape, you encounter other guests, other staff members, and develop genuine human connections.

Molina’s Spanish heritage and practices indigenous to the Riviera Nayarit fuse together in what he has done with the Four Season Apuane Spa’s treatment menu and amenities — but for Molina, these services are more than just luxurious relaxation. They’re a necessary component of living a meaningful, healthy lifestyle.

Photo Credit: Beth Doane

“The wellness and spa experience should be seen like medicine. Our stress levels should be treated just as seriously as our physical needs,” Molina says. Stress is a silent killer, and anxiety and depression globally are increasing each year. Here are Molina’s four tips to create a mindfulness practice in your daily life:

Start the Day With Breath
Meaning, start the day without your phone. Don’t check emails or look at a screen first thing when you wake up. Molina recommends beginning with a short meditation — ideally ten minutes, but five minutes is just as beneficial if you’re new to the practice.

“It’s important to start the day by putting your thoughts in order,” Molina says. “Sit in meditation and just breathe.”

Spend Meaningful Time in Nature
“Observing sunsets and sunrises, ocean waves, a bonfire burning, how trees sway in a breeze – these are the moments when your logical thinking is being turned off and your original ideas, your creative ideas can flourish. This is where the magic of the mind really happens,” Molina explains.

Spending time outside can improve our immunity and relax our parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for “rest-and-digest,” or the activities that occur when our body is at rest. “We are so starved for time in nature. Time in nature brings us into our nature,” Molina says. “When we are outside, we are healing ourselves from the inside out.”

Photo Credit: Beth Doane

Use the Healing Energy of Water
“Always take a shower or bath at the end of the day,” Molina advises.
Showering or bathing at night can help improve your sleep quality — showers warm up your body, and the cooling period after can help usher you into sleep — and help reduce stress accumulated during the day.

Focusing on the act of showering, rather than thinking about everything that happened and everything you need to do, can help you center yourself before sleep. Water is frequently used in healing treatments for these beneficial properties.

Connect with Others — in Real Life
Molina believes that one of the most important ways we can connect with ourselves is through connecting with others in person. “We are losing our human connection,” he says. “Have a conversation without a screen. It’s so critical to connect with each other in powerful ways. The reason guests call our property ‘magic’ is really largely because of the people and connections made while here. The natural beauty matters, too, of course but it’s how people make us feel that stays with us forever. This is the essence of what we do with our brand and how we select our staff — it matters so much in life, too.

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

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