Most of the time we think of meditation as something that is done in solitary whilst indoors; sat on a mat on a hard surface, and a solitary practice. But you can find solace outdoors, in the peacefulness of your own garden, or at a nearby natural setting. The sounds of the birds, the smell of the flowers and the sun on your face… what better way to let all ofyour negative or stress energy flow away.It may seem an ideal way to relax, but it has been proven that meditating and working in natural surroundings has many more health benefits associated with them than you may first realize.
On a sunny day, your skin can soak up the Vitamin D provided by the warm sun, this is a much more natural way than taking food supplements to combat a deficiency. The morning sun is the safest, and just 15 minutes will be enough.
A study was conducted in Holland in 2010 by Agnes E Van Den Berg, who asked two groups to do a stressful task, and once completed one group did gardening and the second group read. The gardening group reported they were in a nicer mood, but also showed lower levels of “cortisol” which is the hormone associated with stress.
Heart & Stroke
The weekly recommended moderate to intensive activity is 2.5 hours, and gardening is one way to achieve this. Additionally, it has also been shown that regular gardening can cut the risk of stress-related strokes and heart attacks by 30% in people over the age of 60 years.
If you practice mindfulness, there is no better place to practice mindful movements while you are doing something that gives other untold benefits. Your senses will become full, and you will be aware of your breath as you dig and turn the dirt. You will be aware of your fingers, touching the damp earth as you plant your seeds, and your mind will be totally focused on the task you are doing, with no thought of the busy world that is just a short distance away from you. In essence, you will be soaking up the true meaning of nature at its best. You can also join a local community garden, if you don’t have enough land.
Grounding & Earthing
New studies are coming to light about the benefits of grounding or earthing. If you are in direct contact with the earth, your body receives electrons from the soil. Actually, it is these electrons that can boost your immune system by flooding your body with antioxidants - which lead to a reduction of inflammation within the body. This may be one of the reasons that so many gardeners have a healthy persona about them, because being in contact with mother nature has never been so beneficial.
Building A Meditation Garden
If you take your meditation practices seriously, you can convert a part of your garden into a Mediation Garden. Then you can have plants that have therapeutic qualities, and grow flowers which are bright in color. Tall trees can aid in blocking neighborhood sounds, and a bubbling fountain and a stone pathway could be built, leading to your central meditation zone. After a day’s work, what better place to relax and unwind than in your own personal comfort zone. You can add whatever you like, to make it your creation.