Nature Breathing

This practice is about connecting to all of your senses when you’re out in nature. It’s about blurring the lines to where you end and nature begins.

Find a spIMG_6665ot in nature to be still for a few minutes (with practice you can also do this while walking.) This could be a rock to sit or stand on, a tree to lean against. It could be in your backyard, out in the woods, or on the beach. Any place that is calling out to you.

Start with your eyes closed. Take a few slow, deep cleansing breaths. Make your exhale a little longer than your inhale, so you’re gently releasing all the air in your lungs.

Bring your awareness to your ears and your sense of hearing. Don’t try to identify anything. Just listen. Listen for what’s close to you; what’s furthest away. Listen for the quality of sound and how it makes you feel inside. Just listen.

Bring your awareness to your body and what you feel. Feel the air on your skin, it’s warmth or coolness. Feel the sun or lack of sun. Feel the earth or rock or tree underneath you. From the tips of your toes, to the crown of your head, feel what your body is feeling.

Bring your awareness to your nose and your sense of smell. There are so many scents of nature…pine needles, warm or damp earth, pond water, snow in the air, decomposing leaves, flowers in bloom…those are just a few that come to mind. But again, don’t get caught up in identifying. Just smell.

Bring your awareness to your mouth and sense of taste. This is probably the most difficult one. I’ve seen my cat open her mouth when she’s really caught up in smelling something new. That’s pretty much what I do. Open your mouth and breath through it a few times. Feel the air on your tongue and as it travels down the back of your throat. Then close your mouth and swallow. Just taste.

Bring your awareness to your energy. Feel a cord of energy travel down from your tailbone, deep into the earth like the roots of a tree. Feel that cord extend up through your body, out the crown of your head, reaching into the sky like the branches of a tree. Just feel.

Bring your awareness to your eyes and your sense of vision. Slightly open your eyes and look around you with a soft gaze. Take in the colors, the textures, the movement, the shadows, the light. Gaze at what is close to you and what is farthest away. Just gaze.

Then inhale, breathing nature into you. It is you.

Then exhale, breathing yourself out into nature. You are it.

This practice seems long all written out, but you can make it as short or long as you want it to be. In the beginning, it may take a little more time to get used to it.

You don’t necessarily need to do the senses in the order I’ve listed, but I would suggest always making the opening of eyes and vision the last sense. We tend to be bombarded in our society by all things visual and it truly is amazing how much our other senses can open up when we shut that one off for a bit. You’ll be amazed at what you hear and feel and sense when you can’t see with your eyes.