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Conscious practices can connect us with nature and help reduce stress, heal, and bring positive feelings and happy thoughts.  
 

Three conscious practices outside your home 

  1. Nature walks and if possible bare feet, to touch and feel the water, trees, and grass and listen to the birds. The minimum effective duration for such walks is two hours a week. 
  2. Vacation in a nature area.
  3. Grow plants, and trees around the home and protect them.

Three conscious practices inside home

  1. Create a sacred nature sanctuary within the home where potted plants, flowers, or herbs such as Tulsi or holy basil can be put. Walls can have pictures of nature. Use the sanctuary for reading, rest, yoga, and meditation. 
  2. Big windows in the house to watch the sky, sunset, sunrise, change of seasons, trees and birds, and rains.
  3. Listen to nature music and watch films about nature.

Three conscious personal practices

 
  1. Meditation upon nature’s elements
To understand our body-mind (microcosm) and the larger universe (macrocosm), we must learn the concept of the five fundamental constituents of the universe and the five elemental feelings they generate. Earth, water, fire, air, and spaces are material elements and feelings. These five elements can be used to describe not only the physical world around us but also the human body and mind. Looking more closely at the human body, various combinations of the elements form unique natural personalities. The elements and feelings form both the individual and the cosmic nature. Elements constitute our natural personality, and whatever we think and do has implications on the elements and feelings.
 
THE FIVE ELEMENTS AND FEELINGS
  1. The first element and feeling is Earth which is felt as solidity. Earth is solid, stable, cool, and calm. Earth roots and nurtures us. All smells emerge from the earth, so it relates to our sense of smell and the nose. Earth makes us stand firmly within and outside the world.
  2. The second element and feeling are Water which is felt as fluidity. Water is lighter than earth and is fluid, cool, and calm. Without water, the taste cannot be experienced. Therefore, water relates to our sense of taste and the tongue. Water gives lubrication for movement within and outside the world.
  3. The third element and feeling are Fire which feels like an energetic and passionate movement in the body and mind. Fire moves quickly. It is lighter than water and it is hot, dry, and passionate. Fire produces light and without light, we cannot see. Therefore, fire relates to our sense of vision and the eye. Fire provides the energy for action within and outside the world.
  4. The fourth element and feeling are Air and is felt as lightness and quick movement. Air is lighter than fire. It is ever-moving, cool, dry, unstable, and connected to our sense of touch and the skin. Air provides movement within and outside the world.
  5. The fifth element and feeling are Space which is felt as expansiveness. In space, all other elements live and grow. Space is the lightest, coldest element and is present everywhere simultaneously because of its infinite movement. Without space, sound cannot travel; therefore, space relates to hearing and the ear. Space provides expansiveness for all other elements to function with freedom.
 
Because of our entanglement in the world and the stresses of daily life, elements and their feelings may be disturbed. That may result in the accumulation of toxins in the body and mind leading to unease and diseases. Reconnecting to nature’s elements helps in healing, restoring harmony, relieving unease and disease, and helps in awakening life’s energy.
 
TECHNIQUE

Element of earth

  • With closed eyes feel the solid earth element in your muscles, flesh, bones, nails, hair, and teeth. 
  • Recall the experience of confidence and solidity in your mind. 
  • Think and feel the experience of the floor, ground, sand, rocks, pebbles, the trunk of a tree, and metal.
  • Unite the elements of earth within and outside. 

Element of water: Five minutes

  • With closed eyes, feel saliva flow during swallowing, urine in the bladder, tears in the eyes, fluid in joints, blood in vessels, and moisture in the skin and mucous membranes. There is an ocean within the body. 
  • Recall the experience of fluidity and flow in your mind and heart.
  • Think and feel the experience of rain, stream, lake, river, spring, and sea. 
  • Unite the element of water within and outside. 

Element of fire: Five minutes

  • With closed eyes feel the warmth in your head, skin, and stomach. 
  • Think and feel the warmth of love, affection, anger, and passion. 
  • Think and feel the experience of the sun's warmth, hot sand, fire, and a hot spring. 
  • Unite the element of fire within and outside.

Element of air: Five minutes

  • With closed eyes feel your breath and the movement of your lungs, tingling in the body, blood flowing, heart pumping, and intestines moving.
  • Watch and feel the movement of thoughts and emotions in your mind.             
  • Think and feel the experience of air on your skin, the breeze through the forest, strong wind, storms, and big waves in a lake or ocean.
  • Unite the element of air within and outside. 

Element of space: Five minutes

  • With closed eyes feel the space within your head, chest, belly, joints, and mouth.
  • Feel the space in your mind in which emotions, ideas, images, memories, and thoughts float. 
  • Think and feel the experience of space outside between two banks of a river, mountain peaks, the valley down below, and the vast sky above you. 
  • Unite the element of space within and outside. 

2.     Expansive or brahman meditation
 
Braham is a Sanskrit noun derived from the verb Briha, which means expansive or vast. Although sometimes it is equated to the word ‘God’ it simply means ever-expanding awareness, which includes all that exists. It includes becoming and the being, and it is both time and space and boundless and timeless.
The brain has no perceptual boundaries and can focus on a dewdrop or the faraway galaxy in the immensity of space. It can be in communion with the tiny wildflower growing alone in a jungle or with the whole biological universe, effortlessly feeling and expressing their movements. It can go back and forth with ease and rhythm in states of Being and Becoming where life is aware of itself.
 
Braham meditation or Expansiveness is to expand the boundaries of the mind and eventually break them so that the brain will be free for unbound perception and feeling and wouldn’t have any limitations. As the border expands, the brain will increasingly include all within and nature around us. Then there wouldn’t be any sense of otherness, and all will be part of oneness, non-duality without fear, conflict, and discontent. It will be a state of Harmony, Flow, and Play. 
 
TECHNIQUE
  • Do slow and deep breathing for five minutes.
  • Now bring the focus to the middle of the chest and then take it deeper into the heart space.
  • Let the feeling of heart space expand to three to four feet around you and whatever comes within the field becomes a part of you. Stay with it for five minutes.
  • Let the heart space expand to the size of your room or space where you are sitting, lying, or walking. All which comes in the field of consciousness becomes part of you. Stay there for five minutes.
  • Slowly let the heart space expand beyond the room without a boundary. It will include your house, city, trees, birds, lake, river, fields, sun, moon, stars, and sky. They all become a part of you. The whole of nature is within you. Stay there for five minutes.
  • Now slowly shrink back to your own heart space.
  • Open your eyes.

3.   Visualization and guided imagery 
 
More than two-thirds of human perception occurs through the eyes and vision. This is uniquely human and is one of the significant factors behind the tremendous progress humans have made compared to any other living species on earth.
 
Through visualization, we can connect to nature and cultivate positive feelings and happier thoughts.
 
TECHNIQUE
 
Sitting in a comfortable pose. You may lie down, but do not allow yourself to fall asleep. Instead, permit yourself to create or sense strong visual images.
 

Flight of the eagle

  • Think of yourself as an eagle perched on the edge of a cliff.
  • Gently and gracefully, you take off.
  • You are floating in space, relaxed.
  • As you are floating, you watch the endless blue sky above and a few scattered clouds below.
  • Golden sunlight fills the space.
  • Now, you allow yourself to be carried by the gentle wind.'
  • You are watching the lush green valleys below and the river flowing through them.
  • The mountain slopes are dotted with villages, and their peaks are covered with fresh sparkling snow.
  • You can also see a trail on the mountain, like a thread, disappearing into a dense blue-green forest.
  • Far away in the distance, you see a blue ocean, and a city spread out on its shore.
  • Stay relaxed and allow the wind to take you wherever it goes. You are just watching and observing everything.

 

A walk through the forest

  • You are walking through a beautiful, dark green forest, feeling the soft ground underneath your feet. 
  • Sun Rays are filtering through the lush leaves and falling on the ground. The ground is full of wildflowers of all colors, and their gentle aroma filled the air. You are listening to the rustling of leaves and a water stream running through the forest. 
  • You can hear birds singing.
  • Walk freely as much as you would like and add to this walk whatever you desire to connect to nature fully.
 
We are producing a series of blogs with Dr. Jivasu that will give deeper insight into the concept of Somatofulnes and how nature nurtures us humans.