A natural landscape ideal for meditating in nature

Benefits of meditation in nature

The benefits of meditation in nature can be profound. Getting closer to nature whilst actively practicing mindfulness can amplify the benefits by incorporating stillness and an appreciation of the natural order of things, furthering and deepening the meditation in a positive feedback loop.

5 minutes read time

What are the benefits of meditation in nature?

Stress Reduction
Being in a natural setting, surrounded by trees, water, and fresh air, can significantly reduce stress levels. The sights and sounds of nature trigger the relaxation response, leading to a deeper state of calm during meditation.

Enhanced Focus
Nature provides a soothing yet engaging backdrop for meditation. The gentle rustling of leaves, chirping birds, or the flow of a river can serve as a point of natural focus, aiding concentration and mindfulness towards the natural order of things.

Connection with the Environment
Meditating in nature fosters a sense of interconnectedness with the environment. This feeling of unity can lead to increased empathy for the natural world and a way to reduce the ego, which can be a key step towards finding inner peace. “In the forest … [as] soon as you sense that hidden harmony, that sacredness, you realize you are not separate from it” (Eckhart Tolle, Oneness With all Life, 2008, p.9).

Improved Mood
Exposure to natural surroundings has been linked to improved mood and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. Meditating in nature can have an even more profound impact on mental well-being.

Boosted Immunity
Spending time in natural settings is also associated with a stronger immune system. When combined with meditating in nature, it can help enhance the body’s ability to ward off illnesses.

Increased Creativity
Nature’s beauty and serenity can inspire creativity and problem-solving. Meditating in a natural environment can lead to fresh insights and a more expansive perspective.

Physical Health Benefits
Meditating outdoors can also involve walking or gentle movement in fresh air, at least getting to your meditation spot, which can contribute to physical fitness and overall health.

Deepened Spiritual Connection
Many people report feeling a deeper connection with their inner selves and a sense of the divine or a spiritual presence when meditating in nature, enhancing the practice. Spiritual connection can often be found when the sense of self is reduced, so getting away from people-made environments and embracing the natural world, surrounded by plants, wildlife and weather can be a shortcut to a beautiful connection to the higher power of things.

How to meditate in nature

Whether it’s in a forest, by the sea, or in an urban garden, the natural world can provide a serene and rejuvenating setting for meditation practice.

Here are a few tips to consider if you decide to venture out:

Choose a Peaceful Location
Select a tranquil and relatively quiet spot in nature, away from busy roads or noisy distractions. Ideally, find a place where you feel safe and comfortable.

Comfortable Seating
Bring a cushion, mat, or blanket to sit or lie on during your meditation. Ensure your seating is comfortable, especially if you plan on meditating for an extended period.

Dress Appropriately
There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing 🙂 Try to dress in comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing, including a waterproof jacket with a hood if it’s raining. Layers are often a good choice, as temperatures can change in outdoor settings.

Sun Protection: If you’re meditating in the sun, wear sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from sunburn. Consider sunglasses to shield your eyes.

Rather than use harsh chemicals perhaps consider a natural repellent such as citronella or tea tree oil.

Insect Repellent
Depending on the location and season, insects can be a distraction. Rather than use harsh chemicals perhaps consider a natural repellent such as citronella or tea tree oil.

Mindful Observation
Before closing your eyes and beginning your meditation, take a few moments to mindfully observe your natural surroundings. Notice the sounds, smells, and sensations around you. This can help you transition more quickly into a state of deeper mindfulness.

Breath Awareness
Use the natural sounds of the environment (like the rustling leaves) as a connection to your breath awareness meditation. You can focus on the sensation of your breath as you inhale and exhale the fresh outdoor air, knowing the same air is moving the leaves around you and supporting birds as they fly around you. Notice if the air is cool, warm, fresh, humid, dry… are there any fragrances?

Body Scan
Incorporate a body scan meditation to connect with the earth beneath you. Start from your feet and work your way up, paying attention to how each part of your body interacts with the ground. Weather permitting, remove your socks and shoes to really connect.

Open-Eye Meditation
Sometimes, it can be beneficial to keep your eyes open during outdoor meditation to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty around you. Soften your gaze and allow your peripheral vision to take in the scenery. Try not to think about things as objects, rather accept everything exactly as it is. Your job is to catch your mind trying to label things, then observe the thought, and watch it float away when it’s ready to. Repeating this is a development of meditation skill, and you may find the gaps of ‘no thinking’ become longer and longer.

Accept Distractions
Nature is filled with unpredictable sounds and movements. Accept them as part of the benefits of meditation in nature rather than trying to eliminate them. Embrace the idea that they are part of the natural environment. Try to observe how your mind responds to these distractions. Only in the place that you don’t strive for peace is the place you just might find it.

Respect the Environment
Practice responsible eco-friendly behaviour. Leave no trace by picking up after yourself, and avoid harming plants or disturbing wildlife. The constant act of caring for other people and things will help your practice develop much quicker.

Establish a regular practice of meditating in nature to deepen your connection with the environment and experience its benefits over time. The depth of meditation is greater than the sum of its parts.