People tend to spend most of their life indoors and almost 11 hours a day on screens – we are suffering from “Nature Deficit Disorder”. But mindful time outdoors can reconnect us with the natural world in which we live. As a nature lover, i wonder why some of my friends and family are not able to appreciate the beauty that the outdoors could bring. And so after Master Sree’s lesson about Samyama, i realized the importance of experiencing things with not only the physical body (sarira samyama) but also the mind (mano samyama) and sense organs (indriyana samyama). If only we could integrate more of these into our activities, i believe it will heighten our experiences to another level. Here are six practices that help counteract the nature deprivation that has become prevalent to our urbanized culture.
- Do a nature meditation
Sitting at the foot of a tree, take slow, full breaths as you bring your attention to what’s happening on the earth and sky.
- Hike with your hands
Take a mindful walk incorporating the sense of touch – run your fingers over the bark of trees, the moss on a rock, the pebbles underfoot or the soft surface of a stone.
- Walk barefoot outside
Walking with awareness and without shoes can be a profound experience.
- Meditate on the sound of water
Close your eyes or maintain a soft gaze, connect with your breath and let your attention rest on the sound, whether its water from a canal babbling or the sound of ocean waves. Listen and surrender.
- Visit a sit spot
Choose a place in your community garden or a nearby natural space that you can return to every few weeks, observing the changes in the flora and fauna over time. Even five or 10 minutes a day spent in your spot will result in a growing bond with the landscape.
- Offer gratitude and care
We often speak of nature in terms of what it can give us – health benefits, recreation, fuel for our fires or vegetables for our meals. We can reframe our relationship with the natural world by consciously offering gratitude for what we receive, and by acknowledging the lives of the living things around us.
With that, i hope you are inspired to get your daily / weekly dose of nature fix. Who knows this time, with more integrations of samyama in place, you could experience nature on an even higher level of perception. So take a walk in nature, do pranayama under your favourite tree and soak all that beautiful prana (life force) in.
Remember what Master Sree said, you CAN hear the plants and animals speak, if only you LISTEN 🙂