Mindfulness on the Move
If you struggle with seated meditation, give your body a boost with a mindful hike instead…
You’re sitting cross-legged on your yoga mat, trying to meditate before you start the day. You’ve put on some relaxing music, cleared your schedule… what could possibly go wrong?
Well, if you’re human, you most likely have a to-do list running through your brain like never-ending film credits. Or perhaps your next-door neighbour is assembling IKEA furniture with what sounds like just a hammer.
Either way, it’s safe to say, seated meditation isn’t for everyone.
But there’s good news. There are lots of ways to give our busy minds a breather, particularly for those who prefer a more active lifestyle. Cue mindful movement.
Here’s how to find a little inner peace, and it’s just outside your front door.
The Perks to Moving Mindfully
“Mindfulness is the ability to be present, to rest in the here and now, fully engaged with whatever we’re doing in the moment.” - HeadSpace
As you know, there are a bazillion physical benefits to moving that body of yours.
Walking has been scientifically proven to improve fitness, sleep patterns, blood flow, digestion, and balance, as well as reducing anxiety, stress, and depression.
And that’s just the exercise part. Throw in some mindfulness and it’s the icing on an endorphins-filled cake.
How to do a Mindful Hike
Find a wild spot you’ve not been to before, like an undiscovered forest, or a beach you’ve been longing to visit. (For inspiration, read our hiking guide that won’t leave you miserable).
Plan a day where it’s just you on a solo adventure, with the goal to be mindful and in the moment. As you move, observe your surroundings and tap into your senses. What do you see/ hear/ feel/ smell/ touch? Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and body.
Mindfulness helps people to focus on the present and feel connected with themselves. Like meditation, it’s about a sense of awareness, without judgement.
Try to Stay Aware
This isn’t a warning to solo hikers against wild bears or cliff edges (though naturally, plan your route safely, pack the essentials, and always tell someone where you’re going).
Trying to stay aware can be tricky. Just like meditation, being mindful is a skill that takes practice.
If you find your mind wandering, gently bring it back to the present moment. You can use your breath to help you focus, which is a common technique by meditation practitioners.
Mindfully Move Anytime, Anywhere
The beauty of mindfully moving is you can literally do it anywhere.
Even if you’re at work and only have 10 minutes to spare, grab it and go. As most of us don’t have the luxury of working right next to rolling national parks or Alpine lakes, it’s more about where we are mentally, not physically.
Do What Works for You
Meditation isn’t a competition between whose mind can be the clearest or who can do the most peaceful walk. It’s simply about finding a way to be mindful that works for you.
Whether you’re taking a quick stroll around your office block or hiking solo to a mountaintop, if you’re present, you’re aware of just how alive you are in that moment.
And that’s an unbeatable feeling.
For more info on mindful moving and its impressive benefits, check out Healthline.
Article written by Rosie Clemo, click here to read more of her work!