Physical activity. Beautiful scenery. Who doesn’t like the occasional hike in the great outdoors? And when you add a little extra awareness to the experience, your outing can benefit both your body and your mind. The teachers and students at the Lotus School take regular mindful hikes on the nearby Lake Nockamixon trails.
We know that spending time in nature has healing and restorative power. Being outdoors increases well-being, helps alleviate stress and anxiety, promotes creativity, assists with recovery from mental fatigue, helps restore attention, boosts the brain’s ability to think, and engages the senses.
While a regular seated meditation practice is beneficial, it’s good to find opportunities to practice mindfulness in many other ways. Short, simple mindfulness exercises incorporated into an activity such as hiking are an easy, enjoyable, and surprisingly effective way of being more mindful.
So, the next time you head out for a hike, why not make it a mindful hike?
Some simple guidelines:
- Stop before you start
- Engage your senses
- Look around and observe your surroundings
- Take snapshots with your mind
- Savor the silence
You can’t keep thoughts of your life completely at bay as you walk in silence, so don’t try. Even intermittent moments of focus have great power to calm both mind and body.