By: Kristin Knight
From physical to psychological benefits, mediation can have a huge effect on your overall health. Reduced stress, improved sleeping habits, and increased patience and focus are just a few of the benefits you can expect from regular meditation. During the summer, everyone loves spending time out in the sunshine, so why not try meditating outdoors?
Traditional seated meditation can easily be practiced outdoors. Start by finding a comfortable and quiet place to sit and begin focusing on your breathing. Many people find it easier to meditate in nature because the distractions and worries of everyday life seem further away. According to Mindworks, “meditating outdoors activates our senses, making our practice more alert and wakeful.”
If you’re looking to further immerse yourself into the natural world, you might consider walking meditation. Take a walk in the woods, along a secluded beach, or even through your neighborhood. As you walk, pay attention to the contact you make with the ground beneath you. Listen to the sounds your footsteps are making in relation to the sounds of birds chirping, leaves rustling in the wind, or waves crashing on the beach. By focusing on all these sounds, you’ll begin to feel more at one with your surroundings. Allow any stress from the day to slip away, focusing only on the moment and beauty of the world around you.
If you don’t have access to total wildness, sitting on your back porch or in a public park can be a calming experience as well. It’s hard not to be relaxed with the sun on your skin and the breeze in your hair.
If you have the space to do so, you can also create an outdoor meditation space at home to use throughout the summer. Find a secluded area in your backyard that brings you joy. If you’re in an urban area, consider adding wind chimes or a fountain to drown out the sounds of the city. Adding candles or incense can help your meditation practice as well. Enclose your meditation area with plants to create a partition between your practice and the bustle of everyday life.
While the warmth of the summer makes outdoor mediation very enjoyable, you can also meditate outdoors during other seasons. Bundled up in a warm blanket on a peaceful snowy day can be a great way to mediate as well!
For more ways to enhance your meditation, visit the The Free Mindfulness Project for downloadable exercises or check out these two Ted Talks: