Mindfulness has been everywhere recently. Being mindful is the practice of being conscious of the feelings in our mind and body in the here and now. It’s living in the present moment and not worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. it’s appreciating being alive and the beauty of life in that very moment, not wishing away what we are currently doing and always focusing on the next task ahead. It’s certainly quite a difficult practice with our hectic lives and natural worries and fears, but it’s one that is very important in reducing stress levels and even increasing our happiness. Though I think it would be impossible to live this way all the time, I do think it’s important to practice mindfulness in some way each day if only for five minutes.
For me I like to bring mindfulness to my yoga practice each week at both the beginning and end of a session. It helps to clear my mind and let me focus on my present feelings and the yoga only whilst releasing all other worries from my head. I also love to get into nature. Sitting still surrounded by the beauty of the colour green through trees, grass, flowers and rolling landscapes. I am also lucky to have a large garden and I want to create a more mindful garden that’s perfect for escaping into and being one with nature to meditate and take mindful moments to myself whenever I feel the need. Below are some suggestions of how create a mindful garden design.
Seating or lying area
While it’s perfectly acceptable to stand barefoot on a patch of grass and take a moment to be mindful, for longer practices you may long for somewhere to sit down or even lie down. Position a swinging rattan egg chair under a large leafy tree or even a hammock if you prefer to lie. Set up an outdoor sofa with an outdoor rug, cosy cushions and surround by plants to create a serene place to practice. Ultimately it needs to be an area you can relax in and you feel comfortable.
Nature itself provides many soothing sounds naturally such as birds chirping, leaves rustling in the wind and even the distant sounds of neighbours chattering or children playing can be soothing. For some extra tranquil sounds then consider installing a water feature. A waterfall feature is particularly mesmerising.
I don’t know about you, but for me a cluttered space causes a cluttered mind. I like a minimal home and I’d like my garden to be the same. It’s a bit tricky at the moment as my husband is doing a lot of woodwork, but once we get an extra shed to hide all his bits and bobs then our garden can really start to come together. A neat and tidy space makes me feel calm and at ease. I’m not sure I can practice mindfulness in a space that is full of stuff as I’d only be thinking about how I need to tidy it all! So for me a garden with mindfulness in the design would be a clutter free zone.
When the weather is less desirable you may wish to be indoors, but have you ever experienced a storm or torrential rain whilst sat snuggly under a shelter? It’s an incredible experience and one you can create for yourself if you design a sheltered patch in your outdoor space. We have added a roofed veranda to the back of our house and a comfy outdoor sofa. Now when it rains I can choose to be outdoors, but warm and dry, to sit comfortably listening to the sound of the rain right in front of me and focus on the beauty of nature and the weather it brings.
Some vegetation to provide greenery is a must. If your garden is rather plain and you just have fences to stare at then try adding some potted plants, hanging baskets or even an entire border to bring nature to life in your outdoor space. It’s about creating a peaceful haven and somewhere that’s good for the soul. Nature is the perfect way to do this.
As nights begin to darken earlier try sitting outdoors in your sheltered seating area wrapped up snuggly in a blanket with a warm green tea. Draping some solar powered fairy lights along the fence, or wrapping them in a tree, can give the eyes something magical to get lost within whilst the mind and body focus on the present moment.
So no matter how large or small your garden, or even if you need to hire an allotment, with these tips and a little imagination we can all create our little patch of Zen.