Green Your Mind
Follow Erin Casperson—dean of the Kripalu School of Ayurveda and a yoga and stand-up paddleboarding instructor—for a meditative hike as she talks about the power of outdoor mindfulness.
Follow this Ayurveda expert for a meditative nature hike that will shift your mind-set
Plenty of people want to be more Zen, but sitting cross-legged on a rubber yoga mat doesn’t resonate with everyone. Adding nature to the mix allows you to be more mindful by engaging and nourishing your senses in a way that might not be possible indoors. Plus, trees release phytoncides, airborne chemicals that can boost our immune system and have a direct effect on our nervous system—studies show they can lower our blood pressure and bring down cortisol levels. To try a full-body nature meditation, go for a walk in the woods or your local park and focus on one sense at a time. Look at the drifting clouds above; breathe in the greenery; feel the temperature of the sun on your skin and the texture of the roots beneath your feet. Head to a brook, a river, or a fountain and listen to the changing tones of the rippling water— the soothing sound of water settles the nerves. Even five minutes can be enough to switch your mind-set. And be open to moments of awe along the way. I still remember the amazing feeling of backpacking to the top of Maine’s highest peak and sitting in pure silence to take it in. But it doesn’t have to be an epic event—just looking at a sunrise gives us the opportunity to realize we’re meant to be connected to nature, not separate from it. And making that connection can really shift our thinking.