Woman meditating in front of water at sunset.

6 Ways to Practice Mindfulness on an Adventure Trip

Mindfulness. It’s a simple word with a deep meaning. In short, it is the act of being intensely aware of your being and surroundings without letting the ego be in charge. Practicing mindfulness is a lifelong discipline, one that is reflected in even the most mundane of our everyday interactions. In this article we will discuss different ways to become aware of ourselves as well as healthy habits to cultivate while on a Recal trip.

Every trip we offer gives you the chance to reconnect with nature, shed the stress of work, and allow space for self-reflection. Being deeply immersed in nature is a very healing experience in and of itself, the sun and fresh air brighten our mood and soon we begin to feel a heaviness lifting from our hearts. By practicing mindfulness exercises, you can boost the rejuvenating effects of being outdoors and begin to transform your mind alongside your body.

Below, we dive into six ways you practice mindfulness on your Recal trip:

  1. Be present.
  2. Take less.
  3. Be clean.
  4. Be gentle.
  5. Meditate.
  6. Be grateful.

Be present.

In the cacophony of modern life, it is common to feel overwhelmed by the excessive information being sent our way. We often find ourselves preoccupied, thinking of one thing while doing another. This prohibits our ability to exist in harmony with the environment around us. By being present, we allow ourselves the opportunity to imprint lasting memories and truly receive the blessings of the day.

When you start your trip, worries about work, money, and social life will probably cloud your mind. Try to observe these thoughts as they play out, and understand that they are not important in the present moment. What is important?

  • Maybe it’s enjoying a conversation with someone on your trip.
  • Maybe it’s preparing a delicious meal.
  • Maybe it’s simply relaxing and not letting burdensome thoughts enter your mind.

Whatever it is, spend your time on the trip being engaged in the environment around you, not far off in another place. Notice the different insects, birds, plants and mushrooms quietly growing.  When you fully immerse yourself in the details of your surroundings, you will see the infinite complexity of the natural world.

Take less.

“Light is right” is a phrase often heard in regard      to the best amount of equipment to bring to the mountains.  It’s common to pack more than is actually necessary, leading to a cumbersome bag that is a chore to haul along. Hauling less – and therefore having less potential distractions – will enable you to fully unplug and engage in mindfulness.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring some things to help you stay comfortable. Start with the necessities, and your outfitter should provide you with a list of essential items to bring along. Once you have everything you need, think of one or two “luxury” items to carry. A pared-down pack list will help you focus more of your time on observing nature, and yourself within it.

Keep your space as clean as possible. 

It’s well documented that Buddhist monks spend a significant amount of their time cleaning, and view the practice through a spiritual lens. This is because they understand the link between the outer and inner world. A clean space leads to a calmer state.  It is a way of honoring the sacredness of your being.

What does this look like when you’re on a trip? Of course it’s hard to be perfectly clean while in the backcountry, but with a concerted effort you can develop routines to help stay tidy. Keep things organized in your backpack, sweep your tent floor every morning, regularly inspect your gear for dirt and grime and wipe it off when you see it. The idea of cleanliness extends to yourself as well. Wash your face and arms whenever possible if you aren’t able to bathe. Keep a fresh pair of socks designated for sleeping in, and another for using during the day.  If you stay clean you will feel better, sleep better, and enjoy your trip experience more. By incorporating small routines for cleanliness and seeing them as mindfulness exercises you will benefit in a multiplicity of ways.

Be gentle to yourself, and towards others around you.

Camping can be tough! It’s a completely different experience than city life, and it comes with its fair share of challenges. The same goes for hiking, rafting, biking, climbing, and pretty much any other outdoor activity. Many times, people make the mistake of comparing themselves to others and worry about their performance. Remember: it’s not a competition. Everybody is dealing with their own struggles. Try not to judge. Instead, take cognizance of other beings around you. If someone is struggling, try your best to help and encourage them. Acknowledge that we are all on different frequencies, and that is okay! 

Make time to sit in silence and focus on your breath.

Wilderness meditation is a timeless, incomparable experience and a potent mindfulness activity. A truly transformative practice, meditation forces us to confront our ego and see the illusions it presents us with. By taking the time to sit in silence, we open a portal to the inner world and become much more sensitive to our thoughts and physical sensations.

Find a quiet and comfortable spot to sit down, away from any distractions. Begin by noticing the pattern of your breath and trying to deepen each inhale and exhale. Perhaps you can try a breathing exercise designed to help fully oxygenate your brain and clear your mind. Give yourself space and time to sit in meditation on every day of your trip.

Be grateful.

Take a moment each day to be grateful for everything your body and mind offers. Give thanks to your physical abilities that help make this trip possible. Thank the sun for its rise and set each day, the moon for its gentle glow, and the stars for inspiring wonder in the night sky. Try to notice all the things that are making your trip better. You will be surprised at how many factors have worked together just to make this moment possible – and helping you along your journey through life. By sending a message of thanks you are returning the nurturing energy that the planet has already given you. This mindfulness activity will leave you feeling more peaceful, and more in tune with your body and mind.

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