Why I think you all should take a hike (hehe)
My clients often tell me ‘But I’m too busy to meditate’ or ‘My mind is too active to sit still, I just get frustrated’. So I thought I’d speak to you all about an alternate way to meditate. Did you know meditation doesn’t have to happen while sitting still in your chair? It takes time (and practice) to get to a place where you can do that! Some people might not ever enjoy that style of meditation and I am hear to tell you that it is okay.
The term meditation often evokes fear and confusion in people, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Put very simply, meditation is simply the act of clearing and relaxing the mind so that your focus can become inward, and not remain attached to the buzz of the external world.
In my own personal meditation journey I have often felt frustrated. My seriously playful monkey mind has distracted me from many peaceful moments. For those of us who battle with anxiety, sitting still just might not work. This is why I find that the easiest way to get clarity in these moments is to take a walk.
Initially I noticed when walking the labyrinth at Crystal Castle** that I had suddenly lost track of my thoughts and started to feel ‘in the zone’ / relaxed (what was this strange feeling, haha?). By just focusing on the labyrinth’s path and one foot in front of the other I had suddenly gotten into it. Looking back, it is probably why I also enjoyed taking my horse out for long strolls in the bush on our own when I was younger.
‘Walking is Man’s best medicine’ Hippocrates.
The cross-motion pattern we use while walking not only assists us to get places, but it also helps to integrate the left and right sides of our brain. It is a weight-bearing exercise that not only strengthens our bodies, but it can assist in the process of the elimination of waste from our bodies by stimulating our digestive and lymph systems. Walking is super low impact and it requires no gym equipment. Walking outside is a proven stress-reliever, it’s the optimal time to practice deep breathing as you inhale all that fresh outside air.
So what do you do for this to be effective?
- Go outside
- Take a 10-20 minute walk and do your best to connect with your surroundings. Look at the trees – notice their colours / height / shape. If at all possible, walk near water – imagine the stream of water washing away your thoughts for a moment like a little mind wash out. Take deep calming breaths, if it helps time your breathing with your steps.
- Go home 🙂
Meditation really doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. Hiking is just one way that you can get started. Can you think of other things you are already doing that calm your mind?
**side note – if you haven’t already been and are ever in the Byron Bay region I would strongly recommend you check out the Crystal Castle, even if you aren’t into Crystals this place has absolutely stunning views of the Hinterland. Well worth the trek!
About Kerryn Nilsson-Linne: Kerryn is the director of West Coast Wellness, where she coaches clients to reduce stress, overcome addictions, eat well and relax more. Kerryn’s mission is to “encourage and inspire others to value their bodies and live a life they love”.