In a perfect world I would never run on a sidewalk, do yoga in a studio or meditate on my bedroom floor. Unfortunately, I don’t live in a perfect world. In fact, I live in Iowa, which means I often run on sidewalks, usually do yoga in studios and more often than not meditate on my bedroom floor. I’m trying to take advantage of the warm summer weather by getting outside as much as possible, which includes meditating outside at least a couple of times a week.
I often have the opportunity to meditate outside, but find myself unprepared. The great thing about meditation is that you can do it anywhere, at any time and you don’t need anything to do it. It’s one of the cheapest ways to improve your overall well-being.
I enjoy the sounds and the smells of outdoor meditation and find that I’m generally much calmer meditating outside. While you don’t need anything to meditate, there are a few things that help me get the most out of my outdoor sessions.
- Enso. There are many meditation apps on the market but Enso has to be my favorite. It has an incredibly simple design and you can set your meditation time as well as interval timers. Lately I’ve been using it for 15 minute meditation sessions and set the timer to let me know when 5 minutes has passed. I almost always have my phone with me, which means I can use this app to meditate anywhere I would like. I also like the discrete signal, because you know, it’s not like I don’t draw enough attention to myself by meditating in the park. You can download Enso for free in the iTunes store.
- Headspace. Speaking of being new to meditation, if you’ve never meditated before I would suggest downloading the free Headspace app. Version 2 of the app was just released today! The Take 10 series is free and guides you through ten minutes of meditation a day for 10 days. This is the perfect place to start meditating–and it’s easy to put your headphones in and do it outside. Watch the creator, Andy Puddicombe, in this TEDTalk. Andy and the app really revolutionized the way I thought about meditation and pushed me to make it a daily practice.
- A private place. You can meditate anywhere you want, but I find that it’s easier to relax in my meditation if I am not somewhere where I know people are watching me. Meditation gardens are becoming extremely popular, but my home is adjacent to a busy interstate which makes it a less than ideal location for meditation. I like meditating in woodlands and by water in particular, and try to find a place where not very many people will be passing by.
- A notebook. I like to carry a notebook with me when I know I am going to meditate. I usually try to bring my gratitude journal and write a few sentences in my journal before I meditate. This is an easy way to move my mind from the hustle and bustle of daily life into a calmer, more present moment. I find meditation easier if I start off by writing down a few thoughts.
- Something to sit on. This might seem obvious, but I have done meditation in wet grass, itchy grass and tall grass. While it definitely adds another element to the experience, I find that even having a yoga mat or a towel makes things more comfortable. As much as I would love to bring the pillow I use for meditation with me everywhere I go, it’s just not practical to carry a big pouf with me through the woods. Or is it…
Do you have tools that help you meditate? Where is your favorite place to meditate?