In the busy, technology-centered world we live in today, it can be all too easy to lose sight of ourselves and get caught up in the demands of daily life. Embracing a daily meditation routine is a vital practice for maintaining our well-being that provides mental, physical, and spiritual benefits.
Meditation can be performed almost anywhere and at any time, but many practitioners find the greatest reward comes from creating a dedicated meditation space. Your meditation space is a place that is solely dedicated to your practice; where your mind and soul should feel their greatest senses of comfort, focus, and serenity. Meditating outside is a powerful way to combine the sanctity of your meditation space with the soothing beauty of nature.
Choosing the Perfect Spot
When you start creating an outdoor meditation space, the most important step is choosing the right location. Since you’ll be outside, you’ll have less control over your environment - as opposed to creating a meditation room indoors - but you can still select and personalize your chosen location to suit your meditation style.
Look for an area that offers peace, privacy, and a connection to nature. Consider your surroundings - do you have a verdant garden, a quiet corner of your yard, or a nearby park or forest that you can access? Ideally, the spot should be away from noise and distractions, creating a tranquil atmosphere conducive to meditation.
Some location ideas that may be suitable include: a garden, deck, balcony, patio space, gazebo, field, under a large tree, near a pond, on a beach, off a walking trail and much more.
Enhance the Ambiance
Although an outdoor meditation area doesn’t allow for as much personalization as an indoor one does, that doesn't mean that it can’t still be adapted to promote deep meditation sessions. You can utilize meditation supplies you may already have on your meditation altar, or start from scratch by crafting an entirely new space with new offerings.
Arguably, the most important item you’ll need in order to start practicing meditation outside is a comfortable spot to sit. While you can use any chair or bench to do this, using a meditation cushion, such as a zabuton mat, allows you to sit in proper seated meditation positions while still staying off of the ground. Our line of outdoor meditation cushions includes bolsters, zabuton mats, and zafu pillows that can be used indoors or out.
As we explained in our previous blog on creating indoor meditation spaces, meditation practitioners often rely on the "5 senses rule" to create a harmonious and immersive experience in their sacred space. This guideline helps in choosing a balanced combination of elements that engage all of the senses, offering a complete and fulfilling meditation experience.
- Scent: Nature is full of scents - even in your own backyard. Once you take a moment to pause and breathe in, you will notice the plethora of aromas wafting around you, especially in the warmer months when plants are in bloom. You can still use your favorite meditation smells, though, by bringing along a single stick of your favorite incense to burn, or by applying a scented body oil before venturing out.
- Sight: The visual beauty of nature is boundless. Whether you simply create a backyard meditation space, or meditate on the top of a mountain, the sights of nature are both breathtaking and comforting. Some ways to enhance your meditative experience can be to choose a location where you can observe wildlife, such as by a bird bath or body of water. Choosing to meditate at different times of the day will also affect the experience. Different animals may be out, or you can view the stunning colors of a sunset or sunrise.
Additionally, adding garden meditation statues can enhance the beauty of your yard while also benefiting your outdoor meditation practices. Our variety of statues can be used to simply add some whimsy to your outdoor space, such as with our meditating frog statue, or create a sacred atmosphere with the inspirational presence of a powerful bodhisattva. We also offer a number of small altar tables and shrines that you can bring with you to place offerings, small statues, and personal mementos on.
- Touch: For touch meditation, there are lots of different textures in nature that can stimulate your senses. For items found in nature, you could hold a flower, bark, or small rock in your hand. A smooth pebble could be rotated in your hand to mimic a strand of mala beads.
Stimulating your sense of touch doesn’t have to only be done with handheld objects. When you’re settling into your healing meditation routine, be sure to take a couple of seconds to become aware of other sensations. Observe the way the breeze feels on your skin, and how the sunlight makes you feel warm. Let the natural sensations of nature wrap around you like a fuzzy blanket.
- Taste: Bring a water bottle with flavored water, coffee, or tea to sip as you go (hydration is important if you’ll be walking far!) If you have a small backyard meditation garden , you can snack on herbs, fruits, and veggies from your garden during your sessions. This allows you to engage your sense of taste and smell while also appreciating the blessings that the natural world gives you.
- Sound: While playing soft music or background ambiance is an excellent way to help ease your mind in the comfort of your meditation room, the great outdoors already has its own music. While you meditate, close your eyes and listen closely to every sound you hear, and you’ll soon become aware of how much is happening around you, such as bird calls, small animals scurrying, and insect chirps. Choose a place near water to enjoy the sound of a trickling stream or lapping waves, or in the forest to hear the soft rustle of wind in the trees. Playing one of our guided meditation scripts softly in one ear can also help to enhance your focus while not drowning out the ambient sounds around you.
Embrace the Tranquility of Your New Space
Now that you know how to create a tranquil outdoor place for meditation, all that’s left to do is enjoy it!
It is important to remember that when creating your ideal meditation spot, there are no rules to be followed. Here at DharmaCrafts, we simply want to create resources to serve as guidance and inspiration for those looking to begin exploring (or dive deeper) into the world of meditation. Where, when, how, and for what purpose you choose to meditate is subjective to your personal needs and goals. Medication spaces should serve as quiet escapes that are exclusively tailored to you, so you can immerse yourself in healing your mind and soul.
Please remember, if you do choose to meditate outside this summer, to abide by the leave-no-trace rule of exploring the outdoors, which reminds us to “leave only footprints” behind.
In another blog post, How to Create a Sacred Space In Your Own Home, we walk you through the process of creating an indoor meditation space.