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Do you have a spiritual practice? What does it look like? Are there rituals and traditions? Is it a solo endeavor or a group practice? Whether your sadhana, a spiritual exercise that allows you to feel closer to your highest self, looks like Sundays at mass, candlelight yoga, daily prayer, or writing letters of gratitude, moving your routines outside can add a spark to your daily life.
In 2015, REI rolled out the campaign #OptOutside to encourage people to go outside on Black Friday instead of spending the day shopping indoors. It’s become an awesome movement of people sharing their stories and experiences of going out to their local parks and hiking areas, of gathering their families for picnics, and of reaping the benefits of vitamin N (“n” for nature)! Perhaps this campaign and others, like #SheExplores, can inspire you to step out into the greenery around you (it’s there if you look!).
Nature and the divine, however you define it, are closely connected and choosing a soft spot in the grass for some fresh air could inspire a new wave of enlightenment.
Try one of the following ideas to take your practice outside. Try them as suggested or incorporate your personal practice along with these tips.
Take yourself outside and begin to walk slowly. Choose a specific destination or go forward without one. Breathe deeply. Allow your thoughts to drift as you wander or give yourself permission to go without thoughts for a little while. Listen to the sounds of the world around you. Can you hear birds? The sound of the wind? What do you notice that you might miss if you were chatting or listening to music? Bring your awareness to your feet on the earth and follow the sound of your footsteps. Don’t forget to look up for the views above you or down for treasures at your feet—you never know what you’ll find! Get out of your head and into your body with a mindful walk.
Grab some headphones. Call a few friends. Choose a playlist or artist you dig. Kick off your flip-flops and groove away! You can listen to the same music as your buddies or choose your own. Putting your feet in the sand on the beach is a creative way to balance your root chakra energy and it can help you feel grounded. And dancing with friends is just plain fun!
Take your asana practice outside and fully immerse yourself in the experience of your senses. As you move your body through the yoga poses, enjoy deep breaths of fresh air. Notice the colors, sights, and sounds around you. Invite it all in. Have you tried yoga on the beach? Yoga in the grass? Or even yoga on a rock? Get off your mat and onto the earth.
Altars have been used in religious ceremonies and sacred rituals for millennia. An altar is a space to place special items, photos, sacred texts, or beautiful objects. Create your own altar using all-natural elements. Wander your neighborhood or local hiking area in search of some items for a special set-up:
Whatever strikes you, add it to the altar. Arrange the items you’ve collected with care and enjoy the inspiration of nature during meditation or your spiritual practice.
Is there something or someone you feel ready to release from your life? Perhaps there’s an old habit that no longer serves you or there’s an old pattern that’s been dragging you down. Get yourself to a body of water—a lake, river, ocean, or waterfall—and allow the water to help facilitate this release. Pick up a leaf or a stick and hold it in your hands. Infuse your item with your intentions for release and let it go into the water. Water purification rituals show up in many traditions and can help catalyze healing.
Choose your favorite nourishing meal and pack up a picnic. Set up a blanket in a local park and take a comfortable seat. Offer gratitude for the food, the surroundings, and all the people who made it possible for you to be there. Begin by smelling your food and looking at it with interest and curiosity. Take a bite, chew slowly, then set your fork or chopsticks down. Continue to set your utensils down between bites to leave time for awareness of the flavors and feelings present. Enjoy your meal!
What other ideas can you think of for opting outside? Is your spiritual practice transferable out into the natural world? What reminds you to stop and literally smell the roses? Simply looking up at the stars or taking a walk in the woods could be all the inspiration you need to remember the sacredness of this world.
Leave the daily grind behind and journey to an oasis of calm, relaxation, and deepening your connection to what really matters at Seduction of Spirit, our signature meditation and yoga retreat led by Deepak Chopra. Learn More.