Outdoor meditation techniques to try

Outdoor meditation

When the craziness of daily life threatens to overwhelm you, there’s something you can try to stave off the meltdown: meditation. Meditation helps to calm the body and mind by turning your focus inward and zeroing in on small things. The flow of breath in and out. The soft flutter of your thoughts as they slowly settle. The sensation of your legs folded beneath you.

The act of meditation slowly silences your inner monolog and allows you to disconnect from the world. It can be difficult to achieve this inner zen if you’re not in the right setting, though. One place that you can always count on to transport you to another plane? The great outdoors. When you meet with Mother Nature, it’s easier to escape the constant demands that often emanate from your devices as the breeze ruffles your hair and the sun kisses your face. Here are a few outdoorsy spots where you can meditate, as well as some techniques to try.

At the park.  Whether it’s sunny or snowy, your favorite local park is the perfect place to start an outdoor meditation practice. Bring along a mat or blanket if you intend to settle on the grass, or simply grab a spot on a snow-dusted bench. Should we cute the snow suggestion? It sounds cold and not relaxing to sit on a snow covered bench! Then spend a few moments grounding yourself—that is, sensing the energy that connects you to the earth. Once you feel sufficiently grounded, practice slow breathing in and out through the nose. Notice how each breath fills up your lungs and then deflates them when you exhale. Try to block out everything else. Experience the inner peace that comes.

Atop a lake.  The gentle ebb and flow of waves naturally lull you into a meditative state, whether you’re conscious of it or not. So when it’s warm enough to bring a boat out onto the lake, make this into your meditation spot. You can also enlist ice skates and perform a wintry meditation while your feet carve figure eights. Either way, start the same way as you would anywhere else, by focusing on your connection to the earth. Then slow your breathing and really focus on each inhale and exhale. Set a goal for meditation, anywhere from five minutes to an hour. If you’re a newbie, start small and give yourself the room to fail as your mind naturally wanders. After all, if meditating were easy, everyone would do it!

In the woods.  There’s nothing quite like a quiet, snow-blanketed forest to help you tap into your inner calmness. When you need a respite from the daily grind, steal away to a spot in the woods of a local park. Find a spot to sit—or stand and lean against a towering tree—and start to dial into your feelings. Same comment regarding snow applies here. When the environment around you is peaceful and quiet, you can allow yourself to incorporate some outside sensations into your meditation. Notice the quiet chirp of resident birds, the soft sound of snow as it shifts off of tree branches and floats to the ground, the muffled sound of deer moving through the forest. Let these noises lull you into a zen state as you breathe deeply and steadily.

Now that you have a few meditative techniques to try, bundle up and head outdoors to zero in on your zen.