How to start a sit spot practice

Connecting with nature on a daily basis can feel like it is only reserved for those lucky few who live in their remote cabin in the woods. Enter the sit spot practice, a short attainable routine or practice of sitting with nature. Shifting your inwards focus to the outside natural world. In this post you will learn more about the benefits of the practice and how you can start it yourself today.

There are many benefits of spending time outdoors, from being good to your immune system, relaxing your nervous system, lifting up your mood, soaking up that vitamin D and grounding effects of the earth (earthing). In our modern houses we haven’t got much contact with the, as Micah Mortali calls it, more than human world. Missing these moments of contacts, can let us feel lost. And in many ways, we maybe lost indeed, disconnected from the natural world, cycles and rhythms, disconnected from the surroundings our ancestors were part of, disconnected from other living beings (humans and more).

Moving to a little cabin in the woods, sounds idyllic, and although I wouldn’t have anything against moving to the woods myself, I feel like spending time in nature on a daily basis becomes an unattainable objective in this way. There are many ways to infuse your modern life with nature. Enter, the sit spot practice.

The sit spot practice is credited to Tom Brown Jr., well-known for his Tracker School, valuable lessons from Grandfather, and his books (I am currently reading his ‘Guide to Healing the Earth’). In this post I will share with you my take on this practice, giving you suggestions to make it as big or as small as you’d like.

If I would summarize the sit spot practice in three words, the words would be observing, mindful and connection. In the sit spot practice you go out of your head, this is the place where we spend a lot of our days, and into nature. By doing so, we become aware that there is something bigger than us, and that it is all around us. We are nature.

To start your own sit spot practice, carve out at least 20-30 minutes in your daily schedule, if you see this practice as your nature and meditation practice in-one, this is just a small investment if you take a look at all the added benefits. Go to a place in nature, close to your home, or maybe even your garden or windowsill, where you can observe nature for a little while.

It is important that you feel safe in the spot you pick for you sit spot practice, and can sit still for some time. When you arrive at your sit spot place, take the time to really arrive. Take a couple of deep breaths and get in a comfortable sitting position. Once you have calmed down your monkey mind a little bit, and feel like you are right here, right now, start focussing your attention outwards. What do you see, hear, feel, smell or even taste? What is going one around you, do you see birds, insects, hear the rustling of leaves or do you smell the sweet spring rain? Be still and observe for a little while, be amazed by the little and the big things of nature. Stay sitting in this way for 10-20 minutes.

When the time has passed, gently take some time to get back to yourself. What did you see, experience and how does this make you feel? If you feel like doing so, take a couple of deep breaths and thank nature of having you as her guest today. To end the practice it can be nice to write and draw in a journal on what you did see and experience.

If you continue to do this practice more frequently, daily or a couple of times a week, you will become more familiar with nature around you. You will get to know the behaviour of the animals, the cycles of nature, the seasons, of the growth, blooming and fruit bearing periodes of local plants. Even if it is just your backyard, or just a little sliver of nature you can see through your window, it is nature to which you are connecting. Taking some time out your day to shift your focus from inwards, to the outside world, from your head into your senses. Taking time to reconnect with nature, observe her, learn from her – and learn about which effect this has on you.

I hope you will find that this practice of daily connection with nature is achievable, and that you are able to give it a try for some time and see what it brings you. For me, personally, this practice has brought me great reassurance – no matter how crazy life gets, nature is always there doing her thing, ever adapting, ever flowing, growing, blooming, dying. No matter how dark the night, the sun will set again.

Stay wild my forest friends,

Sanne

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