Happy November everyone! I apologize for not posting as much as usual this month. I definitely under estimated how much work a four month and a four year old are. We are working on trying to have some sort of schedule. Stick with me and I promise to keep you entertained in the parenting world and write more. Please remember to follow all social channels as sometimes it is easier for me to post on Twitter or Instagram, than Blogger.
As the holiday season is among us I thought a long with gift guides, recipes and fun things to do I would try to give you ways to make the holidays less stressful. I am a fan of yoga and meditation. Here is a great guest post from my friend and fellow writer Christine Hill on how to create a great backyard meditation space. Check it out and post a picture of your meditation space on our Facebook page we would love to see it!
Creating Your Backyard Meditation Space
By Christine Hill
What do you usually do when you come home from a hard day? If you’re like me, you storm in the back door, shed your shoes and bag as soon as possible, then raid the fridge for the most accessible comfort food, and lug your armful over to the couch to zone out on Netflix.
What if there was a better way? What if instead of numbing with calories and comedies as soon as you got home, you instead found a sanctuary and created half an hour of inner peace that gave you clarity and positivity to deal with the best hours of the day?
What if you had a meditation garden in your backyard?
Meditation has been proven to help people overcome depression, addiction, and anxiety disorders. It improves sleep and creativity. It helps us regulate our body and mind, leading to better health, and more clear and orderly cognition.
You probably have heard a lot about the benefits of meditation. You’ve probably even tried it a few times and liked it. But how can you make it more of your daily routine? A meditation garden might be the key. A beautiful, appealing space in your backyard could help you gain peace and refuge in a hectic life.
Here’s a guide, along with some awesome ideas, to get you started!
1: Pick a View
Although the focus of meditation should be internal, you can help soothe your mind and relax into a meditation mindset with a beautiful view. Japanese zen rock gardens are meant to be observed from a specific meditation location and the whole design is built around that focal point. Now, if you have a garden that’s really not picture-perfect, that’s okay! In fact, a meditation corner could be the perfect start for re-doing your landscaping. Think about how many great ideas you’ll get while you meditate and observe your yard space!
When you pick a location for your meditation garden, remember to factor in a few elements that will make it more conducive to its purpose: give it a level of separation from the rest of the world and check the comfort level, including the temperature, noise level, and privacy.
2: Pick a Seat
Think about the purpose of your space. Will it be solely for meditation? Do you also want space to entertain and read and eat breakfast? Do you want to do yoga there too? I recommend that you make the space especially for meditation and nothing else. Having it be your own special space will help you get into a meditation mindset each time you go there. (But honestly, it’s your yard. Do what you want!)
The first and most important thing you need for the beginning of your meditation garden is a proper seat. Remember that you’ll want a place with a nice view, comfortable enough to meditate without distraction (but don’t get TOO comfortable!) Consider a special meditation pillow, a platform, or simply a comfortable flat space that will hold your meditation mat well.
3: Enhance with Sounds, Smell, and Touch
Once you have the most essential parts down, it’s time to start in on the fun part! Create a truly atmospheric space using beautiful garden design and meditation aids. This is where you can get really creative. While you’re brainstorming ideas, consider incorporating sounds, smell, and touch that will all focus and aid your meditation. Here are some awesome ideas to get your creative juices flowing!
- Chimes: In Buddhism, the sound of the bell represents Dharma, or the law that orders and governs the universe. As a general meditation aid, it can be used to focus and organize your mind, to encourage positive attention and vibrations, and of course… to keep you from falling asleep!
- Fountain: A fountain is one of the handiest things that you can have in a meditation garden. It provides white noise that blocks out environmental distractions. Additionally, the sound of water itself is deeply soothing, and observing the patterns of water can enable constructive meditation.
- Aromatherapy: Your form of aromatherapy is up to you, but it’s been long known that certain scents can affect our mood and energy. You can get an essential oil diffuser that will work outdoors, burn incense, or simply plant with aromas in mind.
- Labyrinth: Labyrinths were used in ancient time to let the mind meander into spiritual ponderings. You can create a low-maintenance labyrinth in your garden with a stonework feature. The effect can be achieved simply by tracing the lines with your eyes, or by walking the path physically.
- Mantra Visualization: Sometimes printing out a mantra that you would like to focus on will remind you of your purpose whenever you sit down to meditation. Think about printing it on a picture that you can hang up, or even on stones that you can hold with each meditation.
- Symbolic Arrangements: Even without an explicit statement or mantra, you can surround yourself with symbols that will aid meditation. For example, arranging stones to build a representation of your family can give you a fun way to ponder on those things that are most important to you.
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