According to Ayurveda, spending time in nature helps heal our body and mind. The ancient Ayurvedic medical texts provide a long list of outdoor sensory experiences that promote well-being and balance the doshas. Here are a few suggestions:
The Earth Beneath Your Feet: Balancing Vata.
If you are feeling ungrounded and your mind is racing (clear signs of excessive Vata air and wind), seek out the stability of earth. Try walking barefoot on the earth or grass for a few minutes every day. Put your attention on your feet and have the intention to absorb nourishment from the earth.
To balance the cold nature of Vata, spend a little time in the sun, allowing its light and warmth to permeate you. Reflect on the energy-giving force of the sun, the source of all life on earth. The Sufi mystic Hafiz writes,
“Even after all this time
The Sun never says to the earth,
‘You owe me.’
Look what happens with a love like that.
It lights up the whole sky.”
Connect with the Water Element: Cooling Pitta
When you have excess Pitta dosha and feel overheated and irritable, walking slowly along a natural body of water is deeply healing. Allow the water’s cooling influence to calm and soothe you.
If you don’t live near the ocean or a lake, take a walk where there is lush vegetation or simply lie down in the grass in your backyard or a park. The color of greens plants, blue sky, and rich earth are wonderfully pacifying for Pitta types.
Experience Light, Space, and Air: Energizing Kapha
If you have excessive Kapha and feel dull and lethargic, seek out the invigorating elements of space and air. Our most intimate experience with air is the breath, which connects us with our individual self with our extended body – the environment.
Take a brisk walk or a run in a beautiful park or somewhere in nature. Inhale the life force of the plants with your full attention, imagining the air entering your lungs, flowing to your heart, and fueling the millions of life processes taking place every second without your conscious attention.
The most direct way to experience space is to focus on the sky, allowing the vastness of the heavens to expand your mind. At night, go outside and gaze at the stars, feeling the unboundedness of the universe. You are an individualized expression of this infinite field . . . one wave in the vast, unending ocean of all possibilities.
Whether you enjoy hiking in the mountains or strolling in a garden, spend some time each day tuning in to nature, creating the space for pure joy to rise to the surface of your experience.
Learn more about the timeless healing practices of Ayurveda here.
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