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Eco-Mindfulness: The Benefit of an Urban Sit Spot

A sit spot is a place in nature you regularly sit in without distractions and spending time noticing the experience with mindful awareness, open senses and examining the patterns in nature, non-human beings and the environment.

Our lives are so connected to technology that taking time out to unplug and immerse ourselves in the natural world has become more important than ever. But even in an urban environment a sit spot can make a difference to how connected you feel.

The benefits of sit spots on health includes reducing stress and anxiety, strengthening immunity, sharpening the focus and calming the mind. Sits spots can also help the environment indirectly because you have nature in mind and this helps you be more conscious and alert when operating in the business world and making decisions that impact.

Getting Started on Your Sit Spot

To get started with a sit spot have a think about your favourite place in nature; this will become your sit spot. It's best to keep the sit spot simple and somewhere you can access regularly. I find it useful to do my sit spot in the backyard because there is a view from the house and it's inviting me to spend time outdoors daily. You may consider putting a chair in your sit spot or if you're like me a yoga mat and zafu cushion so you can be closer to the earth.

When sitting in your sit spot here's some guidelines you may wish to explore:

  • Look around and notice the pants, soil, trees, leaves, birds, wildlife, insects, sky, sounds, smells, textures, air and movements.

  • Track the different conditions of the area and notice how nature responds. For example the wind passages or amount of sunlight coming in.

  • Be mindful of your inner experience and the impact nature has on your mind, body, emotions and sense of self at the start of the sit and perhaps at the end.

  • You can practice mindfulness to develop your attentive awareness and reduce the mind wandering by coming back to the breath. You can also let your mind wander and notice where it goes.

  • Use your breath to ground you and give yourself time to settle especially if you have just finished work and still feeling stressed or wired.

  • Allow yourself to relax your muscles, let go of thoughts about your day or the future or any discomforts or holding on in the body if possible.

  • Explore all your senses, noticing your sight, sound, taste, touch, smell as well as your intuition, instinct and the logical mind.

  • Let yourself move slowly and bring an attitude of curiosity, openness and allowing to the experience.

The best sit spots are the ones you continue to return to again and again because you will become familiar with the area and any inhabitants of the area will also become familiar with you. You will also notice the changes in season, weather and behaviour of the plants, atmosphere and wildlife in the area over time. Here's a little video I filmed in my recent sit spot sharing the things I have learned from my sit spot.


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