6 Ways to Hike Mindfully

6 Ways to Hike Mindfully

What is a Hiking Meditation?

        When people hear the word Meditation, they generally think of sitting in a quiet space and trying not to think of anything. The truth is, however, is that meditation is simply the act of staying present with yourself and your experience. Allowing your energy and breath to move naturally is essential for this practice. This means that we are able to meditate in both stillness and movement. Hiking meditation is simply the act of staying present with yourself and your experience while you are moving on a hike or a walk. We get a much richer experience when we are able to do this, and I encourage all of you to try it!

6 Ways to Meditate while Hiking

  • Walk in Silence

    • Simply maintaining silence and not worrying about anything else, allows you to experience the world around you and inside you in a different way. Further, when you are walking with groups of people and intentionally remain silent, you practice allowing space for everyone's individual experience to deepen. You can choose however long you want to stay silent--some people are silent for the entire walk, and some for only 10 minutes--because the more important bit is staying fully present while you are silent. This type of meditative hike is great for when you are experiencing sensory overload and just need a moment to recenter yourself.
  • Focus on your Inner Experience

    • While you are walking, stay present with your thoughts and internal experience. You can do this by consistently checking in with your responses to the world around you, your emotions, your thoughts, and how they are affected by the world around you. You can allow your thoughts to wander or you can respond to what you see and experience, it's up to you. In this practice, you will try to simply observe the thoughts and feelings without being too guided or controlled by them. Staying present with yourself is a fantastic way to experience a hike, as it is a type of grounding exercise and will allow you to calm any distress and increase a sense of satisfaction and peace.
  • Focus on your Outer Experience

    • Here, you will use and stay very present with your senses. What are you seeing? What can you smell? Listen intently, and just be in the moment. Stop and touch the texture of the bark on the trees or the moss on the rocks. Feel the warmth of the sun or the whip of the breeze. You don't have to avoid thoughts here, just really stay focused on what your senses are telling you. This is a great way to experience your hike while staying present because it helps to improve your ability to stay present in any situation, not just one that is peaceful and calm.
  • Capture Moments

    • Bring along a camera or a sketch pad and record moments of your hike that particularly capture your attention. Taking the time to really observe and record each moment that creates a significant response in you will increase your ability to remember each one. It will also allow you to sit in your experience and savory it, increasing your sense of satisfaction and gratitude.
  • Take Notes

    • A lot of people enjoy recording their experiences in a journal, and this is an excellent way to include mindfulness in your hikes. Take along a hiking journal and record your thoughts on specific points of your hike. You can simply record what you are experiencing or seeing, or you can go deeper and write freely based on what you have experienced in order to come to a deeper conclusion or understanding. You can also write entries set aside for specific hikes that you've done, so you can record the changes over time that you observe in each area. Our Mindfulness Footprint Journal is geared specifically for this type of mindfulness. Go with your gut, and you'll find one that works best for you.
  • Structure your Hike

    • Before you start your hike, take the time to mindfully arrange how you would like to experience it. You can structure it however you like. Perhaps you would like a small silent portion, perhaps you would like to hike to a specific place and spend time there taking it in with a sketchbook or journal. Our Mindfulness Footprint hikes are structured in three parts. You can check out more details here and decide whether it is a good fit for you! This type of hike allows you to fit in multiple types of mindfulness into your hike, which is a nice balance for a lot of people.

What else should I know about Hiking Meditation?

Hiking Meditation is a specific kind of Active Mindfulness. By adding it to your mindfulness practice, you will support all other kinds of mindfulness that you practice. Other forms of Active Mindfulness are yoga and Clyfit, and they all support each other in many ways. By varying your practices, a sort of 'cross training', you will build skills that support other skills you will use in other practices, ultimately making them easier. By practicing a moving meditation, you will gain a better awareness of the way your breath moves through your body, and practice focusing on the breath to maintain your movement. This will only increase your ability to stay focused on a sitting meditation--not to mention, improving your physical fitness level!
Further, Hiking Meditation brings you a greater ability to appreciate your experience outside, which practices gratitude and awareness of your blessings. This connects you to your blessings in many other aspects of your life more easily, improving your quality of life through your perspective. Being able to stay calm and aware enough to recognize all the ways your life is making you feel positively is a huge benefit to a daily meditation practice, and an active mindfulness practice is an accessible way to include this in your day.
If you'd like to know more about creating an intentional life through mindfulness, we invite you to explore our blog for more ways you can improve your life with mindfulness. ClyfitMindful Footprint, and The Clyfit Community are all more ways you can move mindfully toward your ideal future. If you are interested in a simple guide that will take you from a blank page to a clear path, click the link below to download our Guide to an Intentional Life.