As a yoga teacher, I'm always looking for ways to help my students cultivate inner peace, mindfulness, and overall well being. And one simple yet powerful practice I recommend is taking regular outdoor walks. Get a dog - it’ll become your part time job (wink-wink)
Getting outside can profoundly benefit both our mental and physical health.
The natural world has an innate tranquility that effortlessly brings us into the present moment.
The sights, sounds, smells and sensations of the outdoors have a calming effect, helping clear our busy/ monkey minds.
Paying close attention to the colors of the trees, the songs of birds, sea waves.. helps release stress and anxiety, enhancing our sense of inner stillness.
By practicing mindfulness as we walk, we can witness our thoughts and emotions without judgement.
Noticing feelings of sadness, anger, or frustration simply as passing states, rather than identifiers of who we are.
You have an angry emotions - you are not angry.
You have negative thoughts- it diets make you a negative person.
You worry about your date, interview or exams - it doesn’t mean you are a worrier.
This kind of attitude builds our capacity for patience, compassion and inner peace.
Regular walking also provides vital time away from screens that overload and numb our senses.
Another reason to focus on self-care in the fall is that it can help to alleviate seasonal affective disorder SAD.
SAD is a type of depression often triggered by the shorter days and reduced sunlight of autumn and winter. To help combat SAD, make sure to get outside every day, even if it’s just for a short walk.
Spending quiet time in nature allows our minds, bodies and nervous systems to come back into balance. This can improve mood, focus and overall well being.
So next time you feel stressed or overwhelmed, try taking a mindful outdoor walk. Find a beautiful park, trail or even neighbourhood you can wander peacefully.
You may be surprised at how restored, centered and at peace you feel afterwards.