Practicing mindfulness has proven beneficial in many ways and taking it a step further to practice mindfulness in nature can bring your experience to a whole new level. Experiencing mindfulness amongst the vastness of nature nourishes your body and allows you to feel connected to the earth and at ease. Being in nature brings your attention to a world beyond yourself while growing a desire to make conscious choices daily to respect and protect the world around you.
So, where do you begin?
First, recognize you don’t have to be “formal” about practicing in nature. Prepare for your time in a way that sets your mind to be fully present while you are in and with nature. You can do this by ensuring you have allotted time, snacks, water, possibly a pen and journal, and the proper clothes or shoe for the setting.
Next, make your way to a setting that inspires you. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or a long travel destination. Pick something that brings joy to your life and gives you a breath of fresh air – a park, a pond, a trail you love, or if you live near the beach or ocean, find a spot nearby. For some simply being in the backyard surrounded by plants, trees, and small creatures can be sufficient for practice.
Once you prep for your day and pick your setting find a spot to practice. Whether sitting or standing, take deep breaths with awareness of your senses – hearing, touch, smell, sight, taste and connect with the world around you. Allow your body to take it all in. Notice the stillness, the silence, or the sounds around you. Pay attention to how you feel in your body and mind, and observe what is happening within you. This mindfulness awareness of self in nature is a time for stillness, observation, rest, and healing.
Finally, spend time journaling about your experience. Allow your thoughts to guide you, or you can find a guided journal resource. If journaling isn’t a preference, try something else – draw a picture, sketch, or write a poem or a letter.
Remember, when practicing mindfulness, take all the time you need and make it as flexible as needed. Adapt to what your needs and the setting. Most important is to carry home the awareness and ease you feel, insights you had, and new refreshed energy.
If you are interested in learning more or experiencing the practice of mindfulness in nature with a personalized plan, visit our website at www.mindfulbeinghouston.com to view your options.