“Good bye winter blues, short days and hibernation”.
“Hello sunshine, vitamin D, and more time outside”.
As we transition from winter into Spring in the northern hemisphere, it´s time to engage your senses fully and get outside. Start fresh this spring with a simple awareness practice to engage all of your senses that can help you to enjoy, relax and rejuvenate in nature.
Take time to notice the world around re-awaking. On a slow walk outside, maybe you can encounter the first flowers or tree buds to emerge. Watch as a grey sky opens to reveal blue. Just slowing down can help us to relax and enjoy nature.
Understand distractions happen
As humans, we have great capacity to remember and become distracted. Smells, sights, sounds can trigger a memory or response and suddenly we find ourselves contending with past stories or future worries. Relax, understand distractions happen. Once you realize you are stuck in a story or facing the uncertain future, bring yourself back to the present. Find something within the present moment to fix or anchor your awareness – the flowers, buds or bird song.
We are sensual beings with curious minds. Each moment and setting provides abundant fodder for our senses. The senses can open doorways into present moment awareness. Choose a moment and become curious.
On what or where are you sitting? What is the texture of the surface beneath you? Is it hard, soft, warm, cold? Can you notice more subtle sensations? Like the sensation of your clothing or different temperatures on your skin?
What can you hear? Allow your sense of hearing to radiate outward. Search out distant sounds follow them for a few moments. Shift your awareness from sound to sound, without labeling the source.
Breathe in deeply, what can you smell? Is there a dominant fragrance? Can you also detect slight undertones of other aromas wafting about the air?
How does this moment taste? If you fins yourself at the seaside, perhaps here at La Crisalida Retreats on the beautiful Costa Blanca in Spain, maybe you can taste the salty sun-warmed sea in the air.
Delight in the moment
A fragrance, sensation, or taste may offer a profound experience. When we engage our senses, we may become hyper aware and feel a sense of connection or appreciation. This feeling of connection or appreciation can help us to relax. We may even forget about pending deadlines or endless traffic and indulge in the moment of warmth as the sun beams through the window on our face.
Choose your focal point
We can also choose to separate from our senses or withdraw our awareness from them. The yogis call this Pratyahara, or the ability to gain control over outside disturbances. It´s like being able to retreat into the safe comfort of your home, like a turtle.
When we experience something unenjoyable or distracting; like a ticking clock, an uncomfortable chair, or an overwhelming smell, we can move our awareness to something else. We may not be able to eliminate the stimulus but we can choose to be unmoved and experience peace beneath everyday circumstances.
If something smells strong, focus on visual input. Become more aware of the variations of color and to the detail within your field of vision. Annoying sound? Drive your awareness to your sense of touch… notice textures, temperatures and the places your body connects to the earth.
Remember to breathe
And if the sounds, smells, and sights, all become over stimulating, retreat to the safe-haven of your breath. The breath offers plenty of sensations to observe. Notice the feeling of air entering the nose, the sounds of inspiration, and observe the effect slow- deep- breathing can have on our body. Calm slow breathing, can reduce our heart rate, steady our minds and relax our body.
New to Meditation?
Slowing the mind and relaxing the body is a practice. Like anything else, it takes time to master. Remind yourself to practice. And always make sure you are in a safe protected place.
Whether you are in meditation, at a picnic, or on a bus ride decide whether to “tune in” or “tune out” of the senses and experience life´s sensual opportunities or withdraw and retreat to the inner sanctuary of the breath.
Read more about meditation on our blog page (click on the category “meditation”). Come experience more of your senses in our relax and rejuvenate retreats here at La Crisalida. Happy Spring equinox!