|Practice Mindfulness on Your Next Hike|
“We all deserve to have more peace in our lives, and I truly believe nature and hiking can bring that to us.”
Last month co-founder Karla shared her top tips on practicing mindfulness on the trails presented by Aftershokz.
“Waking up this morning, I smile.
Twenty-four brand-new hours are before me.
I vow to live fully each moment
and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
How you start the first 10 minutes of your day does more than any other 10 minutes of your day to orient your life toward true joy or mindfulness.
▪It’s recommended that those new to meditating only practice for about 3 to 5 minutes to start, then you can build on it as you become better at stillness of mind.
▪Meditate in a location and environment where you will be distracted as little as possible.
▪Get comfortable seated, or laying flat on your back, or with a chair propping you up.
▪Close your eyes and begin with a breathing exercise like this; (mindful breathing meditation). Now focus on your breathing but don’t try to forcibly alter it. Just be present in the moment. Whenever your mind wanders, focus on your breathing.
▪Sit with whatever thoughts go through your mind, without holding onto it. Lose any judgement you have over these thoughts. Some may be good, some bad. Let them ebb and flow. But always remember to come back to focusing on your breath. Allow your mind and body to settle.
▪When you feel ready or cannot stay focused on your breathing any longer open your eyes and give yourself permission to release negative thoughts.
My Intention Word for the month of January is MOVE. Since the 1st I have diligently woke in the morning and immediately started the day with warm water and lemon (a new thing for me, even before my morning coffee. I’m liking this new morning ritual a lot more than I thought I would. And liking it so much, my morning coffee seems to be becoming more a beverage of taste choice more than necessity. I kind of am amazed by this. It’s the same feeling I had when I first decided to quit smoking. I though, nahhh that’ll never work. But even being healthy and making healthy choices can become a habit. Also since the 1st with my water I am heading directly for the elliptical and spending a half hour or so waking up my body with movement. This will likely get replaced with a morning yoga sequence later this month but will stay a part of my weekly movement schedule!
The other thing I noticed is that the less bravado I seem to have about starting a new habit, the easier it seems to accomplish. I took this new year to be a reset for myself. A complete re-alignment of my body, mind and soul. I’m one of those people who rush headlong into something with lots of fanfare and gusto and then I get bored or uninspired. So I needed to learn to work within my own boundaries and roadblocks to learn how to overcome them. And to learn to be my own inspiration instead of searching for outside sources. So I begin anew.
MOVE being the word for January had different meanings to me, multiple ones. For one, we are physically moving in a few months and making some decisions as to where later this month. Also move…ment out of my own negative head space that I’d been in regarding my progress with races.
You see I know a lot of very fast runners. I even know quite a few very fast race walkers. And I found myself kicking myself down for not achieving things as fast as others do. This again is another bad habit of mine. Never feeling good enough for myself. Not embracing my progress because my progress did not meet MY expectations.
Well, enough of that nonsense. I am only damaging myself and slowing myself down. So, MOVE…ment away from self deprecation and negative self judgement. And replace it with embracing accomplishment and even minuscule advancement.
I entered this challenge for this month. I adore yoga and have been avoiding it knowing that yoga makes me come face to face with the underlying issues that trouble me. But my new mindset has me excited to take this journey . Some times you have to take steps backwards to move forward and this is my step back. (If interested, click the image to find out more about the free challenge).
And also this month I’m setting up my new running schedule and cross training schedule. Instead of doing what I read others say to do, instead, I’m going to do what feels right and what inspires me and absorbs me in a fabulous way! More on that as the year progresses!
But for now I’m just happy that I am inspired with movement and feeling the joy again as I begin my re-set year! The last six months of this past year were pretty rough. I’m happy to say it’s 2017!
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
― John Muir
Hiking & walking in nature, for me, is blissful. And each season brings it’s own bit of wonder and wisdom to the hike. I never really sat down and wondered why I love to hike so much. I mean, yeah I love nature and getting any exercise is a pure endocrine giving burst while getting my body in better shape. But I knew it was more than that, something deeper, almost spiritual in form. I found a sense of peace as my footsteps hit the earth and my mind would wander to, wow, to nowhere, and yet everywhere all at the same time. But not in a rushed getting through the day mode, or not in the chaotic work essence. No, it was within a place of complete release. Complete mental relaxation. And that was when I realized, without knowing it, I was meditating by accident.
Having done meditation in a seated position in my home, and on the beach, I knew exactly what meditation was. But this was different, almost a purer meditation. I realized that my eyes drinking in the trees, the beaches, or the streams was guiding my meditation deeper within.
You don’t even have to believe in meditation for meditation to have effect. Meditation is nothing much more than allowing your mind to be still, and then, once still to allow it to wander to places of peace and zero stress. And nature is a remedy in itself for stress. Why do you think major white collar corporations do retreats to the wilderness camps?
In our hectic world of technology and as we rush from job to second job, or from work to making dinner for the family. Or when we have to study relentlessly into the wee hours of night just to get up to go take the test and a full day of classes. We forget to take time to really turn off. Many people turn to the TV to do that, when in fact it may distract, but it doesn’t help your brain find peace. It’s just living someone else’s fictional life instead of your own.
Meditation is hard on some. They don’t know the first steps, or just can’t do it automatically, can’t shut out the world outside. It takes practice. And patience. I think walking meditation is in some ways an easier starting point at meditating 101 because your body is still being allowed to move, while quieting the racket in your mind. I highly recommend being in nature though, not on a busy street where you have to watch for traffic, lights and hear blaring sirens and car honks. A peaceful little park will do.
1) Awaken to Life!
Mindfulness- being completely present to the life you’re living and what you’re doing- is something that can’t be understated. Expanding your awareness changes every aspect of your life, in every way. It really is as simple as that. The more you do, the more you’ll discover your own unique peace and joy- and the more you’ll be able to let go of personal struggles.
5 Morning Meditations To Set Yourself Up For A Fantastic Day
Start your day off on the right foot with these inspiring words.
“Mornings can be ugly. Even if you do manage to get up on the right side of the bed, one little breakfast mishap can be all it takes to set a sour mood for the rest of the day (did your husband seriously just use the last of the milk?!). But you can get yourself on track with the following meditations from A Mindfulness Morning by David Dillard-Wright, PhD. Read one in the morning to set a positive intention for the day ahead, and circle back to it during the day whenever you need to center yourself.”