How do you meditate in the garden? There is no right or wrong way, but having a beautiful space to do it in can make a big difference. There are many benefits to meditation, including reduced stress, better focus and creativity, and improved mood. And when you take your meditation outside – in designed spaces like a meditation garden – you strengthen your connection to the world around you, deepening mindfulness and linking both mind and body to nature’s rhythms.
Parks, beaches, and forests are all excellent places for outdoor meditation. But if you have the space, a home meditation garden can serve as a personal haven for achieving your daily Zen. From picking the right spot to planting the right blooms, here’s how to create an outdoor sanctuary that’s perfect for your meditative practice.
What is a Meditation Garden?
A meditation garden is an outdoor space designated for peace and relaxation. It can be in any quiet location that you like, though many people find that a private space in their own backyard is ideal.
Meditation gardens have a number of elements that make it easier to drop into a meditative mindset. Some of them are inherent to the outdoors, such as the warmth of the sun, the sound of the birds, and the gentle movement of the wind through the trees. Others are purposeful additions that can make your meditation garden an even more pleasant place to be; among them: native plants, a comfortable seating area, and a trickling water feature.
If you have the space and the desire, creating a meditation garden can be just one more way to turn your home into a relaxing sanctuary. It can also be your go-to spot for when you need to disconnect and tap into some inner peace—something that all of us could probably benefit from doing more of.
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How to Create an Outdoor Meditation Space
Your meditation garden is a private space and should include whatever features help you sink more fully into a meditative state of mind. As you plan it, start by considering these more fundamental elements, then move on to adding in one or more of the features mentioned in the next section.
Where to Put Your Meditation Garden
Placement is obviously going to be one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make. Choose a spot that is conducive to quiet reflection, keeping in mind things like privacy and how far removed you are from distractions like street traffic or your neighbor’s dogs.
If you’re limited in locations, don’t worry. Any tiny outdoor spot can work for your meditation garden so long as it provides you with a place to sit down and disengage for a while.
Choosing Your Plants
A garden needs plants. And this is particularly true for a meditation garden, since plant life is key for forging a connection with nature and the earth.
Native plants—and especially flowering plants that attract pollinators like bees and butterflies—are a great choice for your meditation garden. What plants will thrive in your garden depends on where you live, so do some research to figure out what’s native to your area and what will work in your particular climate.
Setting up your garden on a patio or balcony? Container plants are a good option and can help you create a lush environment for meditation. And whether you’re planting in the ground or in a pot, try to add in a bonsai tree. These Japanese plants are staples of meditation gardens and are thought to attract peace, balance, and harmony wherever they’re placed.
Designing a Seating Area
Decide if you want to sit directly on the ground or if you want to add seating to your garden. Sitting on the grass will help you establish even stronger ties to the earth, but a mat or chair could be more suitable for sustained meditation. Either way is perfectly fine, as long as you pick a spot where you feel comfortable. Just make sure to consider whether you want to be in the sun or the shade, as well as what you’ll be looking at when you open your eyes.
Added Features for Even More Serenity
Just being outdoors is enough to spark joy and a meditative state. As such, there’s no need to bring anything special to your meditation garden—the sun, sky, and earth are more than enough. But if you want to sink further into your practice, these meditation-boosting features could be the way to go.
- Water feature: Simply being around water can enhance the effects of meditation. Use a water feature as the focal point of your garden, such as a soothing fountain, a koi pond, or a bird bath, and enjoy the added benefits that it brings.
- Bird feeder: Speaking of birds, placing a feeder in your meditation garden will invite more feathered friends into the space, which could improve your sense of tranquility when you spend time there. A word of wisdom: Place the feeder a fair distance away from where you plan to sit, since you may end up with waste beneath it.
- Wind chimes: Some people prefer quiet when they meditate, while others rely on sounds to help clear the mind. If you’re in the latter camp, wind chimes are an excellent way to bring sound to your meditation garden, as are bells or a singing bowl.
- Rock garden: Create your own Zen rock garden, which is a space that’s thought to promote a more powerful meditative practice. Also known as a dry landscape, a rock garden uses sand, rock, and pebbles to evoke feelings of peace and can be a nice alternative to greenery if you live in a climate that’s not so welcome to flourishing plant life.
Get Some Zen on National Garden Meditation Day
May 3 is National Garden Meditation Day, and as good of an excuse as any to get to work on your meditation garden. This annual event serves as a reminder of the restorative properties of the outdoors and is meant to encourage time in nature, whether it’s spent actively meditating or just taking a moment to soak in the fresh air.
If your meditation garden isn’t ready to go yet, don’t let that hold you back from celebrating the day. Head to the park and find a quiet spot for some stress-relieving relaxation, or choose anywhere in your yard to close your eyes and just be. Remember, there’s no wrong way to meditate, and if you’re spending quality time outdoors, you’re already doing great.
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