There are a lot of personal benefits you’ll undoubtedly be able to experience once you start taking your meditation practice outside more often. Putting yourself in an outdoor setting can help to prevent that sense of boredom some people often feel from meditating in silence or eliminate the need to use headphones for a little bit of background music. And hey, a little more fresh air never hurts!
If you’ve never tried it, consider giving it a go at least once. And if you’re lucky enough to live in a location where it’s generally pretty warm throughout a good chunk of the year, you might as well take advantage of that by meditating outdoors as often as possible.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning to take your meditation practice outside.
Check the Weather
Besides checking the temperature, make sure you look at other weather conditions like wind gust, humidity, air quality, cloud coverage, UV level, pollen forecast, and anything else relevant to your location. This will help you decide whether you need to bring a sweater, hydrate a little more before you head out, put on extra sunscreen, wear sunglasses, or take any other measures to protect yourself from the elements.
Go Somewhere Peaceful
Don’t worry about picking the perfect spot. Whichever place you choose, there’s bound to be background noise from traffic and other people going about their business. The trick is to find a place where you can sit comfortably without being directly interrupted by anyone or distracted by surrounding sounds and events (like loud construction work or people passing by too closely to where you’re seated). A park bench, a garden gazebo, or maybe even the steps to your front door might do just fine as long as they’re somewhat removed from their busier surroundings.
You should be applying sunscreen every single time you plan to spend an extended amount of time outdoors, but choosing a shady spot will add an extra protective layer. It will also keep you cool during warmer weather and it will be easier on your eyes. Try looking for spots that are shaded by trees, portions of a rooftop section, or shadows from buildings. You may even want to consider tailoring your diet to fit more sun-protecting superfoods into your meals and snacks.
Be Prepared for Creepy Crawlies
If you decide to meditate in a park, a wooded area, or even just on the grass in your own backyard, you’re pretty much bound to experience a bug or two try to crawl up your leg or fly into a part of your body. Aim to sit on something like a pillow, your yoga mat, or a chair with a stool for your feet to avoid giving all the ants and spiders a direct route from the ground all the way up your body. You can also wear long pants tucked into your socks or try some of these natural insect repellents to help a bit.
Don’t Worry About Other People
Those who are used to meditating in solitude may find it uncomfortable to go to a more public place where other people might notice them meditating. This is actually a good thing, because it will challenge your awareness and help you see that most people likely won’t notice at all. If you’re worried about it to the point that it distracts you too much, try to find a spot in an area that’s a little more secluded or consider wearing dark sunglasses so people won’t even see that your eyes are closed as you sit there in silence.
Practice mindfulness in your meditation practice by placing your awareness on the various sounds (and sights if you choose to leave your eyes open) that surround you. Birds, the wind, distant street traffic, and even people’s voices in the background can offer a soothing escape from your mind.