Instead of paying thousands of dollars for a downtown yoga studio, isn’t it better you created an outdoor Zen space in your own backyard? Yoga and meditation are activities intended for an open space surrounded by greenery. Apart from learning to free your thought, you will now have a proper excuse to finally spruce up your outdoor living space.
The Zen charm of a single tree
If there is a tall tree in your backyard, there are various ways to decorate it so it becomes an integral part of the meditation garden. You can hang wind chimes from its branches, so the yard will constantly be filled with melodious sounds.
If there is a hole inside the trunk, then you can burb incense here. After you hang a couple of crystals, you will probably notice if there are branches strong enough to support the weight of a human. This is where you should hang a bench swing for the whole family to enjoy.
A miniature water feature
The sound of running water calms us down, so a miniature fountain is an ideal addition to the backyard. Not only will it put you in a meditative mood but it will muffle street sounds, muffling them with a soothing burble. Don’t install large and pricy fountains, as a birdbath with a single nozzle will suffice.
Further on, a small pond is characteristic of Japanese Zen gardens. They are often decorated with carved wooden railing and a small bridge over the pond, which is a design you can replicate on a smaller scale. Finally, Koi fish live inside these ponds, underscoring human harmony with nature and all living organisms.
A green barrier
In order to practice yoga and meditate at peace, you should be surrounded by greenery. However, plants have a more practical purpose, as a hedge planted along the outer perimeter of the property ensures you have privacy and protection against dust and noise.
The lawn: Nature’s own yoga mat
A floor of a house is too hard to sit and exercise on but the lawn behind the house isn’t. However, you need to maintain grass to make sure it is verdant and luscious. Get a retractable hose reel and water the lawn only in the morning. When mowing the lawn, never cut more than one-third of the grass blades’ length or you might damage the plant. Also, keep the clippings to be used as an organic fertilizer.
A stone altar
We have already discussed the importance of running water in a Zen garden but rock formations as just as important. They literally stand for the tall mountains of Japan, so introducing rocks and stones will help (re)connect with nature.
Apart from large, mossy boulders, there should be an altar in the meditation garden. It would act as the spiritual center of the yard and be your way of showing gratitude to the cosmos. As with the tall trees, the altar can be decorated using crystals and even drawing, resembling a runic alphabet.
Speaking of stone, you can never have enough of this material, in every form imaginable. For instance, the area in-between boulder can be covered with sand in which you could draw various patterns, such as concentric circles.
Furthermore, the pathways can be paved with stone slabs or even better (and cheaper), with gravel. Gravel is a great paver as all the maintenance it requires is replenishing every six months or so. The crunchy sound of walking on gravel is appeasing, making it ideal for a charming mediation garden. S the final twist (pun intended), the pathway should wind thorough the backyard instead of being lain in a liner grid.
Meditating after dark
One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is that the best time for classes is in the morning. Yes, working out before dawn will energize you for the day ahead but a yoga class in the evening is just as effective for making you sleep like a baby.
Provided you feel safe enough to work outside of the house after dark, you will a source of light. Paper lanterns and solar lamps are two of the best solutions. Not only are they affordable but they are eco-friendly, fitting into the Zen mindset.
An outdoor mirror
Yoga studios often feature mirror walls that are quite useful for correcting your posture and making sure you get every move right. However, you cannot install such a large mirror outside, can you? Well, you can because the mirror doesn’t have to be big nor does it have to be a single mirror. Smaller mirrors can be hung from the house, the fence or trees can all serve the same purpose, enabling you to see yourself while stretching out.
A serene outdoor space used for yoga and meditation is much more than an open-air gym. It is an oasis of peace and quiet everyone can enjoy, from the youngest to the oldest family members. Soon enough, the backyard will become your refuge from the hectic, outside world.