Into The Woods – Walking Meditation

 

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Many people say they don’t meditate because they can’t sit still. Not a problem. Walking can be a form of moving meditation. People find walking meditation easier than seated meditation because the motion of the body helps them to stay anchored in the present moment.

Both walking and meditation are good lifestyle choices and an antidote to stress. Together they offer significant health benefits.

 

Health Advantages of Walking

Walking has been proven to help in: maintaining a healthy weight, lowering blood pressure, improving coordination and strengthening bones and muscles. It also aids in regulating moods because it boosts brain chemistry and releases feel good endorphins. Walking can even prevent or control heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. ¹

 

Health Advantages of Meditation 

Meditation can give a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health. It helps clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to stress. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day increasing patience, imagination and creativity. ²

 

Where to Walk and Meditate

Find an open space away from noise and traffic. Forests and woodlands provide wonderful restorative environments where you can enjoy walking.

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There is rising evidence that forests and green spaces contribute to our physical, mental and social well-being. Exposure to natural environments, forests specifically, has stress-reducing effects due to their attractive landscapes, light conditions and air composition (including natural essential oils). In addition, they can be inexpensive to visit, enabling everyone to be included in their health benefits.

 

Turning Your Walk Into a Meditation

Begin by standing with your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed. Let your arms hang naturally by your sides. Take long, slow and deep breaths. As you exhale, let go of any unnecessary tension, smile softly, and let your attention flow deep into your hips. Relax your pelvis, to a neutral position, (neither tipped up nor down). Feel a connection to the heavens with the top of your head and to the earth with your feet.

Next, coordinate your breathing with your steps, taking several steps with your inhale, and several steps with your exhale. Keep a relaxed pace with no thought of “getting somewhere”.

Once you are comfortable coordinating breath and movement you may become aware of other body sensations, the smell of the forest or the feeling under your foot as it makes contact with the forest floor.

“Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

Kissing The Earth

Try this beautiful visualization: Each time you place one of your feet down, imagine that you are kissing the earth through the sole of your foot. Each time you pick up one of your feet, imagine that a beautiful flower is blossoming in the place that your foot just was. “In this way, our walking becomes a way of expressing our love for the earth, and of creating beauty with each step.” ³

If something beautiful or interesting catches your eye while walking and you can’t let go of it, stop walking and do a looking meditation.

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Grateful – Taking a moment of gratitude for mother nature and her forests. I see miracles of God and life everywhere.

 

Where there is gratitude, there is love, growth and healing.

Be blessed, Linda

 

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. – Psalm 96:12

 

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/walking/art-20046261
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858
  3. https://www.thoughtco.com/practice-walking-meditation-p2-3182955

 

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The Love of Trees

I couldn’t see it at first. From the trail it just looked like a gnarly old oak tree but something beckoned me to take a closer look. I thought I should beware of rattlesnakes in the grass but my curiosity got the best of me. I walked off the trail through the thick wild grass and stood before the tree’s massive form. And there it was, staring at me with a gaping mouth, like it was trying to speak!

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“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues,” – Dr. Seuss

 

TREES ARE VITAL TO OUR HEALTH AND THE HEALTH OF OUR PLANET.

As stewards of the Earth, Earth Day is a good time to renew our commitments to the Earth and give thanks for its constant support, beauty and inspiration. This year I honor the trees.

Trees are beautiful and make people feel good.

Exposure to trees and nature has a positive effect on our health and mental attitude. Recent research has shown that trees not only filter pollutants from the air so we breathe easier, but they help make us feel better emotionally as well. ¹

Research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology shows that trees help people to feel more alive. And another study, in the Journal Landscape and Urban Planning, shows evidence that being around trees could actually decrease levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Acacia-yellow-flower_I planted a variety of drought tolerant trees around my home including this attractive flowering Acacia tree. I enjoy its beauty. It’s the first tree to bloom in late winter. With a burst of color it offers the hope of Springs eminent arrival.

Laboratory research shows visual exposure to settings with trees, produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension. – Dr. Roger Ulrich Texas A&M University ²

Trees conserve energy.

Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can lower summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the energy demand for cooling our houses, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants. If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3% less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%. – Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research ²

Trees increase property value.

The majority of realtors believe that having well cared for trees in your yard, will have a significant impact on the value and salability of your home. Healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value. – USDA Forest Service.

Trees cool our cities.

Average temperatures in Los Angeles have risen 6°F in the last 50 years as tree coverage has declined and the number of heat-absorbing roads and buildings has increased. ³ The net cooling effect of a healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. – U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Trees combat climate change.

Excess carbon dioxide contributes to climate change. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs, six tons of carbon dioxide, the amount of carbon dioxide produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles. ³

Trees provide oxygen and clean the air.

One acre of forest puts out four tons of oxygen. According to the U.S.D.A., this is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people. Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

“In a study published in 2014, U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidents of acute respiratory symptoms. The researchers valued the human health effects of the reduced air pollution at nearly $7 billion every year.” ¹

I love trees. Trees are an amazing creation. Let us show our gratitude with action by protecting our trees and rainforests, for they are the lungs of the earth. Together we live or together we die. – Linda Eichberg

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Love our earth and be blessed, Happy Earth Day!

~ Linda

 

Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. – Psalm 33: 8-9

 

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-being-around-trees-help-people-feel-good/
  2. https://www.arborday.org/trees/benefits.cfm
  3. https://www.treepeople.org/resources/tree-benefits