A change of perspective
In my last blog, I was extolling the virtues of practising your yoga outside, a fantastic
Enjoying some peace and quiet
opportunity to connect with the elements, bringing peace, stillness and balance. Why not try an out of doors meditation too?
Find yourself a comfortable place for sitting. You don’t need to be in lotus pose! Just make sure that you are going to comfortable, that it feels peaceful and that the midges are not going to be feasting on you. If you can find somewhere with an inspiring vista, all the better.
I like to start with some pranayama, usually some simple equal ratio breathing or alternate nostril breathing. ‘Prana’ means ‘life force’, as you breathe in the fresh air imagine you are drawing life force into your body, relaxing and rejuvenating every cell. As you breathe out, let go of the stagnant old air, let go of tension, anxiety, anger, let go whatever is holding you back.
Once settled you might feel like closing your eyes, or just softening and relaxing your gaze. As you did with your yoga postures focus again on the elements. The earth you sit on. Take time to put roots down into the earth – very calming. Be aware of any water around you as you breathe. Feel the sun on your face, bringing in the warmth and joy. Now the wind, how does it feel or sound?
Perhaps, hopefully, you are now starting to settle, mind and body becoming still. Allow yourself to stay in this place, soaking up the peace, rejuvenating every part of your being.
For me, meditation done outside is even more special than yoga al fresco. If I choose the right spot, I generally find it is easier to be still, for starters. There is something special about being in nature, that bring me into the present, helping me to let go as I put things into perspective.
On my recent trip I had a few meditation sessions sat on the beach. My favourite beach is one made up of slate rocks, pebbles and fragments (great stones for skimming too, which I found to be very absorbing, a mindful practice in itself!). I found a comfy seat shaped rock, settled myself, and looked out to sea. As I sat here, among millions of slate fragments, the ancient mountains behind me, the vast Atlantic Ocean in front of me, surrounded by sky and air and weather, I felt very small. Small but perfect just where I was, and just as I am :). I felt reassuringly insignificant. I reckon that being out in nature allowed me to put a lid on my ego, and my wanting mind. It definitely helped me to put things into perspective.
The world doesn’t revolve around me (and I don’t need it to!), I’m just a tiny being on this beautiful earth for a relatively short space of time. My problems and anxieties are not really that important in the scheme of things. Will I even be able to remember what was troubling me today, a year, or even a month from now? Probably not! But I do know that I will remember the peace and stability of the mountains, the power of the sea and the feel of the wind blowing away my cobwebs.
I hope you get chance of some quiet time outside. In my experience, gardens and balconies are perfect too, what’s important is that it feels peaceful, you feel comfortable and you can breathe in prana. Do share your favourite outdoor meditation, it’s really useful and inspiring to hear about what works for others. There are as many paths to stillness and peace, as there are pebbles on my beach. Ix