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.

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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.

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