Meditating On The Trail For You And Your Kids
Practicing meditation is something that as an adult I’ve wanted to blend into my busy lifestyle as a mother of 4 but also to just have some peace of mind when I come across a stressful moment. One of my daughters, Maeve, has been practicing meditation on the trail for several years. I’ve watched her each time we go out for hikes and she’s become adamant about finding the “perfect spot” for her relaxation and connection to nature. I never understood her need for this, until recently undergoing a heavy amount of stress. My go-to was always something active, something that I could vigorously get lost in, and ultimately dissolve. Yet somehow, my body has told me to slow down and take it easy–your kids will appreciate this sentiment as well.
I realized this is a practice that could be put to use with a few simple steps and with some things to keep in mind. Our children teach us something new everyday and hopefully these techniques and tips will urge you and your family to do the same when you’re outside.
Pick a secluded spot near water or overlooking a view
Finding a spot to meditate in can make a huge difference in soaking in your intentions. Busier spots on the trail or places where there are lots of foot-traffic can welcome distraction. If you see a place that would be a good fit for your child, mention it, but they should ultimately be finding their own space.
Use an app or use your own meditation ritual
We’ve recently come across an app I like to use called Meditation. Another great one for them to use more independently is My Lights Shine Bright. If you can’t find an app to use, this article from Mind Body Green is a great read on how to start meditating and lists creative ways within the meditation process.
Keep it interactive
After your child has meditated or taken some quiet time to herself, make it a point to ask her how it went. Bring up some key things you noticed (ie: posture, physical movement, etc.) and ask how she feels. Make sure to discuss any issues and suggest tips that may help so she stays positive for next time. This makes for great trail talk!
Do a family meditation
If alone time doesn’t happen and you think your whole family would benefit at a particular moment, get together for a group meditation. Sometimes my kids like to be on their own, but leading a meditation exercise might keep them more centered and focused. If you see a spot on the trail that would be perfect for you all, casually corral everyone over and maybe have a snack first. Once everyone has found a spot, begin a light breathing exercise or start a meditation app.
Bring a blanket or mat that anyone or everyone can sit on
No need to pack a huge blanket with you on your hike. Instead, opt for a light fleece blanket or foldable mat that is easy to spread out. Sitting on something can make all the difference in comfort when finding peace on a rocky trail. If you don’t have a mat, try choosing a space that has grass instead of loose gravel or dirt.
Meditating outside vs. inside
Meditating outside is much different from indoors. While both give you some deep relaxation, I find that being outdoors is helpful when doing breathing exercises and adding to your imagination from the sounds in the background ie birds chirping, wind blowing, or trees swaying–so meditating on a hike is not far-fetched and could easily be part of many outdoor activities.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind if you decide to try meditation out with the kids:
- Do they sway or move?
- Are there mantras they like more than others?
- Check in on breathing methods
- Are they comfortable?
- What adjustments can you make for next time?
- Is there anything they want to share about their experience?
Talking about their experience I find makes it easier to consistently incorporate meditation daily. Even if you don’t meditate everyday, one of the few things that I’ve seen change in all of my kids and myself is my awareness on how we breathe. Here is a an awesome read by the The Chopra Center on getting started with meditation with some great suggestions on how to make your kids’ experience a lasting one.
Have you tried meditating with your kids while hiking or plan on giving meditation a try? Let us know how we can help or any tips you can suggest from your own experience.