Tuning in to the movement of nature can be very soothing and calming, even in the midst of ongoing challenges. You can do this meditation outdoors, or anywhere.
Exploring how it feels to move mindfully outdoors can be a deeply awe-inspiring practice. Even when we’re sitting still, we can sense the movement of nature around us, full of moment-to-moment reminders of the continuous state of growth and life surrounding us. Many of us struggle with climate anxiety and grief. When we move with nature, remembering that as human beings we’re not separate from our environment, we often discover small ways in which we can refocus that anxious energy into connection and gratitude. These, after all, are at the heart of our collective desire to respect and protect our planet.
Tuning in to the natural movement of nature can be very soothing and calming, even in the midst of ongoing challenges. You can do this meditation outdoors, or anywhere.
Mindful Movement Practice: Rest in the Movement of Nature
- First, find a posture lying down or sitting that is comfortable for you. Let yourself really rest into this posture, really land into the sense of your body sitting. Noticing the sensations that let you know you’re here, in the body.
- If you’re practicing indoors, recall a place in nature that you like to be. This can be a place you imagine, or your backyard, a park nearby, or by the ocean or a lake. Maybe it’s in the forest, in the desert, or by a mountain. As you bring this memory to mind, sense how it feels in your body. Sometimes there can be a little sense of relaxation. Just let this memory come alive for you.
- Feel what the body feels like in connection with the Earth. What does it feel like? Underneath your feet or your body? Are you sitting on a stone or rock? Moss? Are you leaning back against a tree, against a boulder, against a hill?
- Notice what scents you might smell: the scent of spruce in the forest, or the salty scents of the ocean. What do you smell?
- Now, begin to sense the movement around you. What can you hear? Is there a rustle of the leaves with the breeze of the wind? The sound of birds, the sound of waves lapping? What do you hear in the motion, in the movement of nature? And what can you see in your special place? You might see the trees moving, the sunlight shifting. The waves swelling. Birds flying. Notice this motion, this movement, and just be with this movement, in a relaxed, easy way.
- Sense your breath moving your body: another aspect of movement in this inner nature. This breath connects your inner nature with outer nature. This breath that moves and breathes you, and moves in your outer environment as well.
- Sense how your being is a part of this natural movement. Resting in the breath, like resting in the swell of the ocean, rising and falling. Sensing, in your body, sensations like tingling, perhaps in the feet or the hands. Like a little sense of ripples of the waves on the lake, or the pulsing of the heart, or the pulse in the body as the rivers of water move through every cell of your body, these internal rivers.
- Sense the change of temperature in your body, warm and cool. All of these changes are part of this natural movement, internally, externally. Sensing thoughts that rise and pass, like clouds rising and passing in the sky. Emotions, like the rhythm of day and night, or the seasons. We’re resting in nature, this movement, internally and externally. Peaceful and relaxed, resting in the midst of movement and change.
- Let yourself rest as best you can in the sense of ease and being carried, being a part of this movement and change, as you go about your day.
Breathe into challenging movement with a longer exhale, whether that be hitting laps on the stairs, running, hiking, climbing, or a high intensity workout.
In this seated yoga practice, we cultivate the tools to nurture, strengthen, and give courage to our fearless hearts.