In September I had the privilege of spending 10 days in Alaska with my husband and my parents. It was a fabulous trip. I got to see mountains, glaciers, a volcano, forests untouched by humans, bears, whales, salmon swimming upstream, eagles, owls, mountain goats and puffins. I even got to see the Northern Lights with my own eyes.
I was deeply struck by the wisdom of nature. I suspect my Ayurveda studies have created a context where I’m paying more attention to the rhythms and patterns in nature. Ayurveda teaches us that we are part of nature, and that nature affects us in a profound and meaningful way. Where we can align with nature, we find health.
As I went on this trip, I went in wanting to immerse myself in the natural rhythms. I wanted to absorb the prana (vital life energy) and any lessons. I learned some great new things and was reminded of some things I already knew.
I followed the sun’s lead. During this trip I went to bed when it was dark, and I got up with the sun. What a wonderful and simple rhythm to align with.
I unplugged. There were five days with no wifi or cell service. It was challenging for me at first (I’m super plugged in), yet after 2 days I was happy to forget I even owned a cell phone. It helped my sleep too – not to be so wired.
I was present. When it was time to eat, I focused on eating. When I was cold water snorkeling, I watched the starfish and seaweed dance. When I was hiking, I looked at the trees and plants and birds. I even got to see a meat eating flower! I let go of distraction. It was amazing to get present with my experiences.
Nature bathing. I spent as much time in the fresh air and sun as possible. Kayaking up to a glacier. Hiking in the woods. Sitting on the deck of the boat looking for wildlife – sea lions, whales, puffin, mountain goats, cormorants, eagles… I even had a few opportunities to do yoga on the deck of the boat in the sun and wind. Soaking up the energy of the sun, wind, water, earth and stars – nature therapy.
Breath. While in nature I would stop and take mindful breaths. I also let nature take my breath away through its beauty, diversity, and brilliance. I am amazed at how nature knows what to do, and when to do it. How the various pieces work together
I was so moved by the beauty of nature, I even became a Glacier Bay National Park Junior Ranger – promising to take care of our natural resources to the best of my abilities.
You don’t have to go all the way to Alaska to learn from and appreciate the beauty of nature. You can do this from anywhere. Since coming home, I have spent some extra time with puppy in the park across the street – enjoying the butterflies and flowers while we still have them. Watching the leaves change color and drop. Watching the stars in the night sky.
What is your favorite way to enjoy nature? What lessons has she shared with you? Please feel free to share in the comments below.