Why Hiking Is a Form of Meditation
Meditation may mean a variety of things to a variety of individuals. Despite the fact that sitting in silence, making use of mudras, and reciting mantras or affirmations are all effective ways to calm the mind, they are not for everyone. In fact, according to study, it might even have the opposite effect and raise anxiety in certain people. Because conventional meditation is not the sole method of achieving increased mental clarity, there are several others available. When you consider that cardiovascular activity enhances mental wellbeing as well as the fact that being in nature increases our general emotions of happiness, merging these two elements into a walking meditation seems like a logical progression.
Not only will it get your heart pounding, but it will also calm your mind and assist you in developing a deeper connection with nature.
What is a walking meditation?
It’s essential to remember that hiking doesn’t have to entail struggling up a slope for hours on end to be enjoyable. In the video below, world-renowned rock climber Alex Honnold properly summarizes the situation: In the world of hiking, “walking in nature” is a fancy word for going for a stroll. When you remove the idea that hiking needs to be difficult, the concept becomes more approachable and appealing. If you want to take a more attentive hike, walking meditations have a few important rules to follow: they are simple, they are effective, and they are fun.
- Concentrate on the sensation of your feet lifting off the ground and contacting the earth
- Examine your ideas and feelings while letting them to move through your mind without becoming connected to them. Ideally, you should practice in a large open area outside.
The most important part of a walking meditation is to concentrate completely on your steps. Being mindful of your surroundings, such as the sounds of leaves rustling in the wind or birds tweeting, or the sensation of a cool wind brushing up against your skin, may also help you stay grounded in the present moment. When you’re completely immersed in your stroll, it helps to keep distracting thoughts at away. Even a walk in the woods might be considered an exercise inaparigraha, or nongrasping, because it connects to the notion that the journey is more essential than the destination.
Hiking, when done with purpose, may provide a meaningful connection to the natural world.
How to practice a hiking meditation
- Choose a route: This might be accomplished through the use of hiking-specific applications such as Gaia GPS, reading a trail map from a nearby state or national park, or simply venturing off the beaten path in your neighborhood. Make a point of telling a trustworthy buddy where you’re going and when you plan to be back. Become rooted in your surroundings: Make a mental preparation to begin meditating by closing your eyes. You may begin to notice the warmth or coolness of the air on your skin, the gravel beneath your boots, the birds in the sky, and the present moment by noticing these sensations. Start your trek by: Get out of your car and start walking. With each step, drop your arms to your sides and allow them to flow freely with your body. It may be beneficial to connect with your breath on every third step, inhaling and exhaling as you go. Find a rhythm that is comfortable for your body. If trying to synchronize steps to a tempo becomes too distracting, simply abandon the endeavor. Presence, rather than a certain breathing pattern, is essential in this situation. Feel your legs moving: Pay attention to the pressure that builds up on the soles of your feet as you connect with the earth, and the soft release that occurs when they’re pulled back up to their original position. During your stride, you should feel your muscles contracting and relaxing. The benefits of aware movement include being less likely to lose your footing and having more time to take in the sights and sounds around you. Take a minute to reflect: Hiking is not a competition. When you’re feeling exhausted, take a break and allow your breath to return to neutral when your heart starts beating rapidly. Experiment with different textures by running your hands over bark or grass in your immediate vicinity. Consider how ancient these towering giants are, and how much you can appreciate their magnificence and gift of oxygen. These are excellent opportunities to take a refreshing drink of water, which is especially important on hot days. Relax your thoughts: Take note of thoughts that pass through your mind without engaging with them. What is it that you want your thoughts to stray to? It is capable of carrying out whatever responsibilities you have when your hike is completed, or it is restricted to the current surroundings. Allow your thoughts to take you anywhere they choose. Your body is in the present moment, and that is the aim
Practice with others
We are sociable beings by nature. There is a compelling argument for training with others. Consider the power of a small studio or online class, and the power of moving in silence with others around you, or the power of chanting in unison to begin or end a session with others. Hiking with others is a safe way to explore the outdoors, especially if you’re exploring a new location for the first time. It may also be a pleasant way to pass the time. When you express your intention with a companion that you will be meditating while hiking, you may both be more present, and you can then discuss your separate experiences later.
“I believe that participating in group activities such as hiking, meditation, and yoga can be really beneficial, both in terms of the overall sense of community that it fosters and in terms of encouraging individuals to continue to employ these practices when they are on their own,” he adds.
No of how the group dynamic develops, we are all on the same trip as one another. In addition, via these group activities, we may continually learn from and encourage one another.”
A personal note on hiking as a meditation
The act of hiking is a significant part of my own meditation practice. Being in nature for miles on end on a path helps me to clear my thoughts and disconnect from the outer world. In the same way that a tough vinyasa flow requires all of my concentration, the repetitive movement of a trek allows me to just stroll. On a good day, I might notice that an hour or more has gone and that I haven’t had a single thought during that time. Tapping into that flow state provides me with a total refreshment and provides me with the energy I need to face the days ahead.
In addition, when you reach the finish of the trek, you will have a great feeling of success.
The ability to ground yourself in your own personal talents and feel what your body is capable of is really powerful.
See also: How to Deepen Your Practice by Taking Mindful Nature Walks With an outdoor walking meditation, you may re-center yourself.
Take a Mindful Hike
One of my favorite pastimes is going on a hike with friends and having a good time while listening to good talk and laughing. However, unless we make a conscious effort to pause every now and then and truly pay attention to where we are and what we are doing, we stand to lose a great deal of time and opportunity. Stopping and actively engaging our senses when hiking not only helps us to quiet and anchor ourselves—relaxing both mind and body—but it also helps us to enhance our connection with the natural environment.
- Being in nature has always been a favorite pastime of mine.
- It’s also the place where I’m the happiest and most comfortable.
- I like being out in the wilderness, with a heavy load on my back, far away from society.
- It was a fantastic journey, one that solidified a lifelong passion for trekking and the great outdoors.
- As a single woman, I didn’t know many people who were into hiking, and I was too self-conscious to join a hiking organization.
- Recently, I’ve come to know that meditation and being in nature are the two things that consistently help me to relax and calm my thoughts.
- It is shown that spending time outside improves well-being, reduces stress and anxiety, stimulates creativity, aids in the recovery from mental tiredness, aids in the restoration of attention, increases the brain’s capacity to think, and engages the senses.
Short, basic mindfulness exercises that may be included into an activity such as hiking are an easy, pleasurable, and surprisingly efficient approach to become more aware of one’s surroundings. Make your next stroll a mindful hike the next time you go for a walk in nature.
Stop Before You Start
We don’t take many breaks between activities. Consequently, we may be able to transfer the stress and anxiety from a previously completed action, discussion, or train of thought into what we are going to undertake. Allow yourself to enter into the present now (try the “Note the Pause between Breaths” exercise) before you begin your trek, allowing yourself to let go of any ideas or anxieties that may be on your mind as you prepare to begin.
Consciously Engage Your Senses
Not only will making the effort to pause along the route and bring conscious awareness to your senses improve your connection to your environment, but it will also help you to reclaim your sense of well-being by restoring balance to your mind and body. After a while, your body will begin to relax, and your thoughts will begin to calm down. The majority of our time is spent thinking, according to most estimates (90 percent). Our physical body receive just approximately ten percent of our attention after that.
Take a break every now and then throughout your trek to attempt one or more of the following exercises: The majority of our time is spent thinking, according to most estimates (90 percent).
We may help the body to begin to soften and relax by actively maintaining our awareness in our bodies without forcing anything.
Sense Practices — Look
Enjoy a few seconds of stillness while you take a few steps back and intentionally activate your sense of vision. Make a point of spinning around slowly and carefully, soaking in the entire 360-degree panorama as you go. Look up and take in the view of the sky, the patterns in the clouds, and the canopy of trees that towers above you. Look at the ground and take note of the shadows, patterns, colors, and textures that are there. Take a few moments to sit or lie down and take in your surroundings.
As you examine the thing, allow your eyes to become more relaxed.
Look for minor things that you might have overlooked at first sight.
During this practice, you will simply pause and take pleasure in a few seconds of quiet while intentionally engaging your sense of hearing. Even after you’ve performed the exercise and returned to your walking routine, try to remember to slow down and actively tune into that sensation of hearing from time to time. Lie down and close your eyes if it is more comfortable for you to do so. Alternatively, you can just drop your eyes while maintaining a gentle stare. Allow yourself a few time to become comfortable in your own skin.
There’s no need to look for noises anymore.
If you listen closely, you may hear the sound of the wind in the trees; the sound of birds; and the voices of other walkers in the distance.
Take note of whether your mind attempts to classify or criticize the sounds.
Consider whether you can pick up on any such criticism and gently redirect your attention back to the sensation of listening. In addition, as you continue trekking, take a few moments to more intentionally engage your other senses every so often.
Take a moment to notice the sensation of the sun or a chilly wind against your skin and pay attention to it. If you come across an object with an unusual texture—a rock covered in soft, velvety moss, for example—explore it with your hands, paying close attention to your sense of touch while you do so.
Take a few minutes to eat in solitude when you come to a stop and have something to eat. Conscientiously pay attention to the flavors and textures of your meal. When you’re out in nature, food already tastes better—and this is amplified even further when you eat with awareness and intention.
Stop, close your eyes, and bring your conscious awareness to your sense of scent to complete the sentence. Allow yourself to be patient as you allow the fragrances to come to you. It is possible to smell something that is pretty delicate and difficult to identify at first, but if you are patient, you will be amazed by what you begin to discover.
Vision Exercises — Expand Your Peripheral Vision
It is the goal of this exercise to investigate and promote the full use of your peripheral vision, which is the ability we all have to perceive things that are just outside of our field of view. When we are scanning the night sky for a shooting star, for example, we naturally use our peripheral vision to assist us. Our peripheral vision is becoming increasingly ineffective in our daily lives, owing to the rising amount of time most of us spend staring at one form of device or another in our daily lives.
- In order to concentrate on it, pretend that your eyes are stuck in their sockets, much like an owl, which must turn its entire head to gaze on either side of the room as it begins to focus.
- Draw attention to what you can see at the margins of your vision by softening your focus.
- Maintaining your arms straight and continuing to wiggle your fingers, gently move your arms away from each other while maintaining your attention on the point of concentration you’ve picked for this exercise.
- Slowly raise and lower one arm, wiggle your fingers, and then repeat the same with the other arm.
- Again, let your arms hang down by your sides.
You could choose to think about one or two items that are in the periphery of your vision in your mind’s eye. As you continue walking, take a few moments to see whether you can deliberately tune into and appreciate your peripheral view every now and again.
Throughout your trek, attempt to capture “moments in time” with your thoughts. You should take a few seconds to observe and imprint on your mind any objects, sounds, flavors, or tactile sensations that you are particularly drawn to when you notice them. As you continue walking, replay the scene in your head for another 30 seconds or so. Although it seems impossible, it is amazing how much information can be absorbed in a short period of time. Taking photographs in this manner allows you to relive the most beautiful moments of your hike—the sound of birdsong, the warmth of the sun on your cheek, the scent of damp dirt—at a later time in vivid detail, even if you are not there to experience them.
In the event that you appreciated some (if not all) of the preceding mindfulness activities, strolling in silence is a fantastic approach to relax and enjoy the final leg of your trek. The length of time you choose to walk in silence is totally up to you, however I’ve found that 30-40 minutes is a good length of time. When we are in the midst of people, most of us have very little opportunity to be alone with our thoughts. While shared silence might be a little awkward at first, there is something rather delightful about it once a few minutes have passed.
Even brief bursts of concentration can have a profound effect on both the mind and the body.
You can want to spend the quiet walking session intentionally maintaining awareness in your own body.
You shouldn’t expect to be able to entirely block out all thoughts about your life when walking in quiet, so don’t even try.
Stop and Tune In
Check in with your surroundings and your physical body the next time you’re out in nature, whether you’re taking a hike or just taking a short stroll. See if you can remember to take a few moments to stop and tune into your surroundings, as well as to your physical body, by consciously engaging your senses. As you breathe, pay close attention to the rise and fall of your chest muscles. Feel the warmth of the sun on your face or the cool air on your skin. Pay attention to the sights, sounds, scents, and textures in your environment.
Practice — Note the Pause between Breaths
Close your eyes and take three long, deep breaths in your own time, without rushing anything or forcing anything. Exhale with a sigh that is both exaggerated and long, trying to let go a bit more with each expiration. Gently maintain your focus on your breath and, after each expiration, let your next breath to arrive when it’s ready by allowing it to occur naturally. This brief pause between breaths may be quite peaceful and relaxing. After you have taken three deep breaths, allow your breath to return to its normal pace and pattern.
Take note of the sensation of air on your face and take a moment to reflect.
Feel the connection your feet are forming with the ground underneath you with all of your might.
Allow yourself to become acutely aware of your current location.
“I’m allotting myself some time to recuperate and reconnect with the natural world.” Simply open your eyes and refocus yourself before beginning your hike when you are ready.
This article also appeared in theAugust 2016 issue ofMindfulmagazine.
Hiking, at least for me, is a form of meditation. It’s one of the primary reasons I seek refuge in the mountains and woods whenever I have the opportunity. Approximately ten years ago, I attended classes and workshops on meditation at the Insight Meditation Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I learned about sitting and walking meditation. If you live in or around the Boston area, this is an excellent place to learn about meditation and Buddhist philosophy without feeling pressured to adhere to a particular religious belief system.
People suffer from work-related anxiety far too frequently, replaying the events of their day or dreading the tasks that are on their to-do list, among other symptoms.
A Daily Meditation Practice
Every morning, I spend 15-20 minutes in a kneeling meditation posture, focusing on my breathing and clearing my mind. I sit quietly and concentrate on my breathing, completely experiencing each inhale and exhale I take, sensing the way my breath expands my chest and back, and listening to the sound the air produces as it passes through my body. I sit quietly and concentrate on my breathing. Nothing is more present than the width of the picture. When my focus begins to stray, as it does from time to time, I gently bring it back to my breathing.
Walking meditation is a different type of meditation in which you pay attention to your breath and the feelings of your body as you move around your surroundings. Some people walk in a stylized manner, as if they’re walking in slow motion, and this is something they should cultivate. Although I personally dislike it, many individuals who attend day-long retreats include it into their schedules in between sitting meditation periods.
My treks, at least those that I go alone, are contemplative experiences for me since I concentrate on the sensations of breathing and walking when I’m out hiking. It’s possible that my method of hiking meditation is simply a more active variation on the walking meditation technique. The sensations of my body are all I am paying attention to at the moment, aside from the things going on around me. I am feeling the ground beneath my feet and the movement of my arms as I move forward with the help of my trekking poles, and I am hearing the sound of my breath passing through my body.
When I don’t pay close enough attention, I’ve discovered that I have a greater proclivity to trip and fall more.
It is not about emptying your mind, but rather about concentrating your attention on a few things that you are experiencing in the present now.
The only difference is that I am in command of my thoughts and what I am paying attention to, rather than allowing external stimuli and interruptions to dictate what I am paying attention to.
Essentially, it’s like getting your car serviced mentally, allowing you to clear out the filth and emotional baggage that you’ve been carrying around with you, allowing you to live a more deliberate life that is more receptive to new experiences and sensations.
3 tips to turn your Hike into Meditation
There is a good explanation for this. When we go outside in nature, we are able to feel ourselves as well as the environment around us, and we get a sense that there is something larger than ourselves. We feel more connected to ourselves and to others as a result of this. Spending time in nature has also been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and sadness, while also increasing creativity and sharpening attention, according to research. Next time you go on a trek, attempt to make it more of a meditation experience by deepening your experience.
Everything revolves around cultivating presence and purpose throughout your experience, elevating it above and beyond a simple trek!
1 — Tune into Sensation
When you are outside (or really anyplace), it is a fantastic chance to engage all of your senses. Feel the breeze on your face, take in the scents of the grass, flowers, and trees, listen to the river moving, and touch the moss and rocks. Focusing on our other senses helps the mind to be free to perceive whatever is going on in the present moment. The purpose of meditation is to be in the present moment, exactly as it is – and here is the perfect opportunity to do it in the great outdoors! Do you want to take a vacation from the 60,000–80,000 thoughts we have each and every day?
Try it out and see how it goes!
Visual perception accounts for at least 70% of all sensory input.
2 — One Step At A Time:
“Smile, breathe, and go gently,” says Thich Nhat Hanh, one of my favorite quotes. This is extremely beneficial for lengthy treks, excursions, and travels. The current instant is, in fact, the only moment that exists. Our ability to dive into the experience and be present in the moment is enhanced when we concentrate on one step at a time. When walking, pay attention to the rhythm of each foot going up and down, as well as the rhythm of the steps themselves, up down, up down. Using this method, you may achieve bilateral stimulation, which will help to balance both spheres in your brain and soothe your central nervous system.
3 — Enjoy The View
Over and over, scientific evidence supports the good effects of spending time in nature. It lowers cortisol levels, which is our stress hormone, and aids in the regulation of our central nervous systems. Furthermore, it has been shown that being in awe may increase our feelings of happiness by reminding us that we are a part of something bigger and better than ourselves. Furthermore, the view has been well-earned — so take it all in!
Heart-Centered Tip: Take in your surroundings, place your palm over your heart, and breathe in all of your emotions from the experience through your heart center. Now you have access to all of the current experiences at any time of day or night!
How Hiking is Like a Meditation Retreat (And How It’s Not)
Study after study has proven the numerous advantages of spending time in nature. It lowers cortisol levels, which is our stress hormone, and aids in the regulation of our central nervous system. Furthermore, it has been shown that being in awe may increase our feelings of happiness by reminding us that we are a part of something much larger and more significant than we are. The view has also been earned, so take it all in. Heart-Centered Technique: Take in your surroundings, place your palm over your heart, and breathe in all of your emotions from the experience.
10 Ways that Hiking is Like a Meditation Retreat:
Hikers are known to be voracious eaters, as is common knowledge. Well, at vipassana meditation retreats, you are only served two meals each day by the retreat’s management (apparently, hunger helps you to meditate). Consequently, it goes without saying that you spend a lot of time daydreaming about food. Isn’t it obvious that this is a long-distance hike?
2. You go inwards and remove yourself from society.
During my solo “pilgrimage” of the Appalachian Trail last year, during which I shaved my head and dressed monk-like, I barely spoke to anyone throughout the day. Although your climb may be more sociable than mine, you will be completely immersed in the realities of a very limited subculture and will most likely be stuck in your thoughts for the rest of the day. Meditation retreats are no exception to this rule.
3. You are constantly uncomfortable or in pain.
The entire objective of meditation is to just observe the sensations that occur in your body, both happy and bad, without reacting to them in any manner (i.e. changing positions; scratching an itch; etc). In order to avoid being unduly connected to anything in your daily life, this appears to educate you to accept the impermanence of both good and unpleasant things in your day-to-day existence. The same is true while hiking a long distance; your body is continually inflamed, but you must simply accept it and push through the discomfort to reach your final destination.
4. Impermanence is the law of nature.
Hikers and meditators alike come to realize that embracing impermanence is the key to finding true pleasure. Generally speaking, this is true, but it is especially true on a through-hike, when you may fall on your face, break your trekking poles (or your foot), or get called on at any time. Furthermore, the fact that you have very few goods and are continuously traveling through nature is a highly freeing experience for the majority of individuals.
5. You have willingly chosen self-deprivation.
You are well aware of the need of discipline. You know that if you actually go through with it, you’ll be a lot better badass than you already are because it’s so freaking difficult.
6. Your family and friends think you’re crazy.
“What?! Is it true that you plan to meditate for 12 hours a day for 10 days without speaking to anyone? Yes. I am, in fact, doing so. “What?! “You’re planning on hiking over the mountains of America for six months?” I exclaimed. Yes. I am, in fact, doing so.
7. It’s an emotional roller coaster.
While on long-distance walks or meditation retreats, your emotional highs and lows are heightened due to the lack of external distractions that would otherwise divert your attention away from the present moment.
8. You wake up at the a$$ crack of dawn (or earlier).
The folks who practice vipassana are serious about their 4 a.m. wake-up calls. On every night, meditation begins at 4:30 a.m. and continues until 9 p.m. (on and off), starting at the same time every day. Through-hikers are almost as insane as thru-hikers. When I was hiking the Appalachian Trail, I started trekking around 6 a.m. every day and sometimes didn’t stop until after midnight. There were also days when I got up at 1 or 2 a.m. and trekked until I was exhausted and fell into a deep sleep.
Overachievers make it to the finish line, whether it’s enlightenment or the conclusion of a long and difficult route.
9. Everyone there is seeking something…
You’ve experienced what it’s like to be out on the path. Everyone has a distinct motive for being out there, and no two are same. A large number of people are attempting to escape their pasts, prove something to the world, or just become better and stronger versions of their former selves. Imagine the yearnings of all the weirdos who attended a 10-day silent meditation retreat, including yourself. Desires include the abolition of global suffering and the attainment of enlightenment. lifegoals
10. You see the world through fresh eyes afterwards.
Nothing can take away from the fact that self-deprivation and incredibly hard labor may help you learn a great deal about yourself, the world around you, and how you fit into this world. After completing a through-hike as well as ten days of continuous meditation, it’s nearly hard not to feel as if you have achieved a higher level of comprehension of some topics. At the very least, momentarily.
How Hiking is NOT Like a Meditation Retreat
- At a meditation retreat, you must sit through hours of unsettling pre-recorded chanting
- During a meditation retreat, you will spend the most of your time indoors
- During a meditation retreat, you will spend the most of your time sitting
The bottom line is that if you are interested in personal growth and facing significant obstacles, both a long distance trek and a meditation retreat are worthwhile endeavors to pursue at some time in your life. However, after having experienced both, I’d take a trek above anything else! Disclosure of Affiliate Relationships This website contains affiliate links, which means that The Trek may get a commission if you purchase a product or service after clicking on one of the affiliate links in the articles or adverts on this site.
Thank you very much for your help!
How to Be Mindful on a Hike (Published 2017)
hiking in nature gives an opportunity to tune in – both to our personal experience and to the environment around us. When it is easy to become absorbed in one’s thoughts or daydreams while hiking, the basic practices of mindfulness can help us to become more present in our experience of nature.” The following is from Khalila Archer, program director of Inward Bound Mindfulness Education: Begin by paying close attention to every step. Simply pay attention to the ground every time your foot makes contact with it.
- Feel the sensation of air brushing across your skin.
- Activate your senses and bring your awareness to them.
- Smell: What kinds of odors do you pick up when you’re walking?
- Pay close attention to what is going on below and above you.
- Allow each experience to wash over you, not clinging to any one of them, but softly accepting each as it comes to you in its own time.
- Allow your weight to be fully absorbed into each stride before moving on to the next, and maintain a tempo that permits your breathing to maintain a constant rhythm throughout.
Feel the movement of your feet on the ground, the movement of your body in space, and the movement of the world around you.
Walking As Meditation
Lauren Cahn, a new agey-type writer for the Huffington Post, has uncovered something that hikers of all hues already know: walking is meditative! She described it as a sort of meditation for persons who are unable to meditate on their own accord. You know, those Type A personalities. And while a lot of the individuals I’ve encountered on the path struck me as the sorts who could easily lose themselves in unfocused contemplation for hours at a time, some of us go-getters need to feel like we’re accomplishing something in order to feel like we’re accomplishing something important.
- While this is not a novel concept to us, Cahn describes a “Aimless Walking” practice that I found particularly interesting: I pull over to the side of the road, set a timer for 15 minutes, and begin walking.
- The sounds of crunching leaves under my feet, rustling trees, and water rushing over rocks keep me company throughout the day, and I’m grateful for it.
- Aside from that, my thoughts tend to be a complete blank.
- It simply happens.
- When I’m hiking, the only thing on my mind is hiking, and that’s it.
- It will be at least till some rustling startles me out of my trance.
- Anyone anyone have any zen-like experiences or methods they’ve picked up on the route that they want to share?
Turn a Hike or Walk Into a Moving Meditation
Consider incorporating a meditation practice into your next hike or stroll to get even greater advantages from your excursion. In addition to the benefits of physical activity and an increase in energy, you may also benefit from extra mental health benefits. There is evidence to suggest that spending time in nature can help to reduce anxiety and depression, improve emotions of well-being, and provide a sense of restoration. Meditation has also been linked to these advantages, according to research.
- The author of What Now?, Yael Shy, notes that there are many distinct types of meditation.
- “Movement meditation may be defined as any attempt to be present and in the moment as you are feeling it while you are moving.” Yoga, according to her, might be regarded a form of movement meditation.
- Here are three suggestions for how to accomplish this on your next trek.
- In order to get the best results, Shy recommends paying close attention to each step as you take it: “where your foot is going, the elevation change, what’s around your foot,” he adds.
- The goal is frequently less important than the whole experience while practicing this sort of movement meditation.
- Open your senses to all you are seeing, hearing, smelling, and maybe even touching and tasting for a sensory-rich stroll or walk.
- Allow these things to come into and out of your awareness, adds Shy.
- Incorporate a sense of thankfulness.
- This might be anything: your body, your breath pulsing through you, the trees in front of you, or anything in between.
- As Shy notes, “the common thread running across all of these hiking meditations is that you are not just lost in the random thinking that the mind likes to do.” “Thoughts will come to pass.
That’s what gives it its contemplative quality.” The likelihood is that any of these practices will assist you in actually experiencing and enjoying your hike, rather than spending the entire time thinking about when you’ll reach your destination or arriving at your destination and realizing you weren’t truly paying attention and thus missing everything.
Join Fitbit Premium and listen to these songs to help lead you through your moving meditation:
- A Mindful Walking Exercise from Aura
- A Walk to Decompress from Ten Percent Happier
- Aura can benefit from a little mindful walking meditation.
They may be found under the Discover tab, under the Mindfulness area. This material is provided solely for educational reasons and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is not recommended that you use this material to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition of any kind. Always consult with your doctor before making significant dietary or sleep changes, using supplements, or beginning a new exercise regimen.
Brittany Risher Englert
Brittany Risher works as a content strategist, editor, and writer on a freelance basis. She covers a wide range of topics in health and wellness, with a particular interest in mental health and women’s health. Forward, Sonima, Elemental, ZocDoc, Men’s Health, and Women’s Health are among the companies that she has worked with.
If Meditation Is Not Your Thing, Try a Walk in the Woods
A content strategist, editor, and writer, Brittany Risher works on a freelance basis. Everything health and wellbeing is covered, with a special interest in mental health and women’s health. Forward, Sonima, Elemental, ZocDoc, Men’s Health, and Women’s Health are just a few of the companies that she has worked with.
Hiking as an analogy for mindfulness meditation, Notes from the Frye, July 8th, 2015
hiking as a parallel for mindfulness meditation – some thoughts from the Frye Institute The 8th of July, 2015 I’ve been enjoying some beautiful hiking in the Cascades lately, and as I was out exploring, I had some thoughts about how hiking may be utilized as an analogy for mindfulness practice. When it comes to mindfulness, it is commonly defined as: a specific style of actively paying attention to present-moment experience in a non-judgmental, loving, and welcoming manner. Hiking incorporates the three major qualities of mindfulness: intention, attention, and awareness, all of which are important aspects of the practice.
While hiking, our goal may be to reach a lovely lake to swim in or sit by, or it might be to get some exercise in a beautiful, natural setting, or it might be to spend some time in isolation, or it might be to share an experience of serenity with a friend.
As a result, we headed out on our journey with a clear goal in mind.
As well as our attention – the act of directing awareness to whatever arises in the present moment experience – we must bring our attention to both the external environment (what we see, hear, and smell), as well as our internal environment (what we think and feel, the temperature, observing the weather, the trail surface and conditions, etc), and our internal environment (are we hungry, fatigued, off balance, as well as noticing our thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc) If we don’t pay attention, we may take a wrong step and fall, or we may miss the route and become lost, or we may experience any number of terrible repercussions.
Another factor to consider is our attitude toward our experience – an open, non-judgmental, loving, inquiring, and unknowing approach toward our experience.
Alternatively, ‘wow, that’s steep, why wasn’t this mountain made less steep?’ If you know exactly what the route will be like, you may say something like, “I believe I’ll simply watch a youtube video on my phone till I get there.” Moreover, we can observe how we might go back and forth between these three elements.
- Take it one step further: If/when we arrive to the lovely mountain lake and have the good fortune to jump in and cool down our bodies, we may be attentive of this and truly appreciate and enjoy our surroundings.
- Each step on the journey requires us to be fully present in that moment, or we risk tripping or losing sight of the trail.
- With our sitting meditation today, we’ll take stock of our intentions, pay attention to the present moment, and maintain a positive mindset.
- So, if all you can think about while cleaning the dishes is eating the peach, what will you be thinking about when you actually eat the peach?
- The peach is consumed but not enjoyed, and so we go through life, victims of a culture that has become increasingly lopsided, placing greater emphasis on achievement than on appreciation.
- There is nothing more simple than being reminded to breathe and to be still, and then the space for imperfection is created.
Every time I forget, every time I catch myself charging forward without a clue where I am going, every time I make the choice to stop, breathe, and simply be and walk slowly into the mystery.
Hiking is Nature’s Therapy
In today’s world of confusion and nonstop stimulus, it might be difficult to find time to ponder and relax. Getting out into nature is a great way to get some peace and clarity, and it’s also a powerful weapon for challenging our society’s standards of survival. More and more strain we place on ourselves, the more our health deteriorates as a result. Silence is necessary for the regeneration of our thoughts and bodies. Hiking is an excellent method to take advantage of the many benefits that nature has to offer.
As our muscles cry for mercy and our toes grind against the soles of our boots, we seek refuge in the shadows.
As I lean against the gnarly bark, the final question surfaces: why did I decide to go through with this?
Occasionally, the tiredness of regular life attempts to prevent us from venturing outside; but, the advantages of exploring uncharted territory are just too tremendous.
Consider the following reasons why hiking is considered to be the ideal kind of nature therapy.
Hiking is a great way to relax and clear your mind.
In either instance, we are left with the same mental state: one of accomplishment and clarity of thought.
It appears that the combination of hiking and nature is a good medicine for clearing the mind of the extraneous and allowing us to concentrate on the large picture instead of the details.
Hiking provides us with the opportunity to develop clarity, which allows ideas to flow.
As a result, he would take several walks throughout the day.
The majority of us believe that being physically active, rather than inactive, allows us to be more creative.
John Burroughs, Jr.
Hiking helps us become more mindful.
The vivid colors of the trees and flowers dazzle our senses, while the deep blue of the sky pushes us to do more.
Hiking helps us reconnect with our origins on this planet, instilling in us a sense of duty to maintain and preserve its sanctity in the process.
We frequently feel a strong desire to protect the places where we trek because maintaining the wilderness is critical to ensuring a brighter future for everybody.
Numerous studies have demonstrated that exercise is helpful to one’s mental health as well as one’s attitude on life.
What’s even better is that no matter how out of shape you are, you may get these advantages from even a short trek.
Feeling very much alive, we arrive at the conclusion of the journey feeling refreshed and exhausted, but also feeling more prepared to deal with “civilization.” The sense of achievement we get from completing a task is sufficient to change our outlook on everything in life.
John Muir was a conservationist who lived in the United States.
Nature provides us with guidance.
Going for a trek provides us with the chance to realize and apply this advise in our own lives.
The Cottonwood tree, which was more than a century old, provided him with guidance through a difficult period in his life.
The counsel from your True Nature echoes the wisdom of the natural world.
When we walk into nature in search of something, we frequently end up discovering our own real nature.
Hiking allows us to get away from it all in a quiet manner.
In today’s world, it’s easy to believe that the Wilderness and Nature are more civilized than the rest of mankind.
Each and every one of us must do our share and take an active role in safeguarding the areas that give this critical shelter.
Take a hike with your friends, family, and pets, as well as anybody else who wants to join you.
Positive transformation may begin with a single thought, and that single thought will most likely express itself over a single trip.
It is necessary for the human soul to be in locations where nature has not been altered by the touch of man. The author is not known. Alycia Q Roller is a true nature employee of Your True Nature, Inc. (yourtruenature.com)