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Mindfulness in Motion : Combining Meditation and Shinrin-yoku

What do you visualize when thinking about the word "Meditation"?

I assume that 99.9% of people might visualize the Buddha or a person sitting cross-legged or in a comfortable position with closed eyes and a serene expression, indicating a state of deep focus and relaxation.

This is a "still" version of meditation. There is also a "motion" version of meditation, which is the Shinrin-yoku/Forest Bathing, and I call it a "Walking Meditation."

Here's the reason why.

Mindful Walking:

As you stroll through the forest, pay attention to the sensations in your body, the rustling leaves, and the scent in the air. Let go of any racing thoughts and be fully present in each moment. When your eyes engage with something, try not to take a picture, instead be with the moment and notice how you feel.

Meditative Observation:

Find a comfortable spot and sit or stand in stillness and observe the natural world around you – the patterns on the leaves, the dance of sunlight through the branches (Komorebi 木漏れ日), or the chirping of birds. Notice the light on water. Let the beauty of nature be the object of your presence.

Nature Breathing:

During the slow walk, practice deep, intentional breathing. Inhale the fresh air deeply into your lungs and exhale any tension or stress you may be carrying. Let the rhythm of your breath synchronize with the gentle rhythm of nature and feel that we are breathing together!

Grounding and Connecting:

Take a moment to touch the trees or feel the earth beneath your feet. Embrace the feeling of connection with the natural world, acknowledging that you are an integral part of this vast ecosystem.

Of course, you can find a safe and comfortable spot in nature to sit down, close your eyes, and meditate. This is also a wonderful way of connecting with yourself and nature. The more aware you are of yourself, the more aware you will be in nature.

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