Mindfulness = non-judgmental awareness of our inner world and outer surroundings that looks and feels a lot like wonder + curiosity . . . inviting us to ponder, “Hmm, what is this?” with acceptance & surrender in each moment we encounter.
The Benefits of Mindfulness Backed by Science
lower anxiety & depression
decreased stress and circulating cortisol (master stress hormone)
lower blood pressure and resting heart rate
improved immune function and faster recovery from illness
increased brain function, memory, and neuroplasticity
feeling more calm and grounded in the body
feeling less emotionally reactive to negative stimuli
feeling more joy, gratitude, or states of ‘bliss’
awareness of the “monkey mind” and repetitive thought patterns (+ or -)
deepening into spirituality, faith, and our connection to spirit
Mindfulness is an art form, allowing thoughts to come and go as you focus on your breathe or sensory information (what you see, hear, feel, taste, smell), redirecting your attention back to the present moment when your mind begins to wander (as it always does).
Formal mindfulness-based practices like meditation, yoga, or Qi Gong are all wonderful, but everyday mindfulness while washing the dishes, gardening, talking with a friend, playing with pets or kids, cooking, eating, enjoying your morning coffee, creating, or walking in nature offers even greater rewards.
Think about an encounter with someone who was fully present with you. How did it feel? Did you feel seen and heard? Did they withhold judgement, offer support, or calm you just by their presence? Did they mirror something back to you that sounded true or profound? Did you walk away from the encounter feeling a shift, a lightness, or relief?
Healing happens when we are fully present with ourselves, other people, animals, plants, and the earth.
Being fully present looks attentive, focused, and engaged and feels grounding, centering, and calming in the body and mind. It allows us to take in the details. It allows for appreciation and gratitude. It builds relationship between you and the other - be it a person, nature, emotions, memories, or objects . . . creating connection with a golden, soul-binding thread.
(re)Wilding is the art of (re)building relationship with everything around you and inside of you - an old world antidote to the speed and detriment of modern day life. All that is required is intention, daily practice, and the inspiration to create sacred space.
Let’s make this commitment together.
Settling into a Mindful Lifestyle
1) Set your intention: (re)Wilding is intentional at its core. What is your WHY for building your mindfulness muscles? Based on all of the benefits mentioned above, what feels motivating or missing in your life? Setting intentions is a ritual we practice every month during the New Moon Circles and you are most welcome to join us for exploring your intentions more deeply.
2) Explore different times of day for a formal practice (find what works best for you: first thing when you wake up, before or after breakfast, in the morning, on your lunch break, in the afternoon, before or after dinner, before bedtime) or commit to everyday mindfulness during your daily activities. Start with something that feels easy and build from there.
3) Be consistent: the benefits of mindfulness compound the more you do it! Yay! Commit to 3-5 minutes a day increasing to 10, 30, 60 minutes, or time blocks like “Mindful Mornings”, "Mindful Bedtimes", or "Mindful Meals" as it gets easier.
4) Master mindful deep breathing: for focusing & preparing the mind and grounding back into the body. Breathing fully into our belly reduces stress, improves focus & energy, and activates the social and relaxation centers in the brain. We can practice this anytime, anywhere as the breath is our companion in formal or everyday mindful awareness.
Sit in a comfortable, upright position if possible, otherwise on-the-go, standing, walking, or lying down works too.
Relax the shoulders, neck, and face. Stretch any areas of tension and close the eyes if that feels good.
Inhale through the nose. Expand the belly first, then the ribs, and then let the breath rise all the way into the shoulders and collarbones. (Do this now.) Feel a slight movement in the collarbones and shoulders as the breath moves upward.
Exhale. Feel the shoulders fall, ribs move back toward center, and belly move back toward the spine. Continue for several rounds of breath.
Now focus on the breath as it enters and exits the nostrils. Feel the coolness of the breath as it enters, the warmth as it exits.
Now listen for the slight sound of the breath as it enters and exits the nose.
When the mind wanders, return your attention to the breath.
Notice any shifts in your emotional, mental, or physical state after just a few minutes of belly breathing.
5) Creating Sacred Space: “Your sacred space is where you find yourself over and over again” - Joseph Campbell. Sacred space can be created anytime, anywhere. Mentally or physically. Indoors or out. Alone or with others. Sacred space can fill your entire home or even be embodied in your presence. All of life is sacred when we set the intention.
Claim a space, location, or corner of a room for a dedicated sacred space. (Use rituals, scents, objects, or totems to create sacred space on-the-go.)
Light a candle, dim the lights, or turn on a salt lamp
Open windows and doors to let in light, a breeze, or nature sounds
Create an altar or wall collage with some of your favorite nature/spiritual totems
Use comforting blankets, pillows, books, or other decor to define your space
Use an app, bells, instruments, or singing bowls for your practice/ritual to begin and/or end.
Play mood-enhancing music or nature sounds
Burn sage/incense or diffuse essential oils to clear the energy or open your heart & mind to receive
Invite a beloved pet or loved one to join you
**Honor sacred activities or personal expression while in this space: meditation, yoga, art, reading, authentic communication, dance, touch, writing, ceremony, etc.
Wild at Heart Sensory Mindfulness
Combining mindfulness with nature lies at the heart of (re)Wilding. If you’re new to meditation or mindfulness-based practices, starting your practice in nature is a wonderful way to begin.
Addiction to technology and attention deficit has become so common in our culture, but nature medicine is an immediate and effective therapy for reclaiming mind.body well-being on a daily basis. You do not need pristine forest to experience the benefits - any outdoor or indoor nature setting will do (bringing the outdoors inside with house plants, pets, sounds, water fountains, open windows, whole foods, etc.).
See below for an introduction to Mindful Sensory Hiking. For a deeper experience & more detailed instruction, explore the Mindful Sensory Hiking lesson in the Rituals of (re)Wilding Online Course.
Walk with intention in nature for at least 5 minutes (and up to 2 hours for full benefits).
Tune into the breath to drop deeper into mindful awareness, both internal and external.
Immerse yourself in a sensory experience, what do you see, hear, feel, touch, or taste?
Begin noticing the details, the patterns, the colors, the seasonal changes.
Breathe in the smells, touch or pick up natural objects, taste some of them :)
Wander without the pressures of time or destination = careless timelessness
Notice emotions or creative energy and ideas begin to flow as you continue to walk immersed.
Come back to mindful breathing if your attention wanders to the stresses of your day or negative thoughts.
Tina Welling, author of Writing Wild, describes her nature immersions as a three step “Spirit Walk”. I highly recommend this book for anyone on a creative or (re)Wilding journey.
Naming: alerts our awareness to the senses when we name what we see, hear, feel, taste, and smell
Describing: engages our senses and body awareness on a deeper, more intimate level; focusing on the details of our experience inside and out.
Interaction: invites us to create a relationship with our surroundings where hope, fear, dreams, love, inspiration, and memories arise in response to our sensory attention.
Let us wander together forever...
Want More Guidance & Support?
The Wild at Heart Community is uniquely designed to help you transition into a lifestyle that awakens your inner wild and supports your wellbeing.
Sign up here for (re)wilding inspiration to download the (re)Wilding Retreat Guide: a nature-infused, self-guided retreat to explore on your own or with family and friends designed to help you de-stress, disconnect from technology, soulfully connect with loved ones & nature, nourish your mind.body with healthy whole food, and provide the mental space to practice mindfulness in your everyday life.
Want Personalized Guidance & Support?
Book your first Wild at Heart Coaching Session HERE. This complimentary session is an invitation to share your health & wellbeing challenges and explore the possibilities for healing your mind.body.heart & soul with (re)Wilding and the Wild at Heart Method.
I look forward to walking with you awhile on your healing journey. We'll stop and smell the wildflowers. Smile a lot. And wander down the road less-traveled.
Be Well & I'll See You in the Wild,
Angela Juhl, MS, CHWC, CYT
Master of Science in Human Nutrition & Functional Medicine
Wellcoaches™ Certified Health and Wellness Coach
Wild Woman Project Circle Leader
Certified Yoga Teacher
Wild at Heart was founded on the mission: to take a stand against unsustainable cultural norms by empowering others to (re)align their lifestyles & mindset with nature for healing an array of mind.body.heart & soul (im)balances and (re)kindling a soulful relationship to the natural world...for themselves, their loved ones, our communities, and our beautiful planet.