Tree Meditation Exercise: Reduce Stress and Connect with Nature Using Guided Imagery
When life gets busy, it’s easy to feel disconnected, even uprooted from one’s own life. The following nature meditation is designed to connect the individual with his or her self again by imagining the body as a tree, swaying in the breeze.
After practicing the tree meditation, one will feel grounded and connected again to nature and the self. This exercise is highly recommended after a stressful day or event, any time that one feels disconnected.
Preparation for the Tree Meditation
Drinking some water beforehand may relax the body and prevent distractions. Minimize interruptions by silencing the pager or cell phone. Explain to family members or roommates the need for privacy, and carve out some space to relax and be.
Directions for the Tree Meditation
One will need comfortable feet and ten to twenty minutes of uninterrupted time. Spend thirty seconds to a minute stretching the body and focusing on the breathing before beginning.
- Stand up straight, with arms hanging gently at the sides.
- Close the eyes and focus on breathing as deeply as possible.
- Breathe deeply, three times or as long as needed until the abdomen fills up like a balloon on the inhale.
- Breathe in, and begin to wriggle the fingers, like leaves on a tree. Breathe out.
- Breathe in, and lift the arms ever so gently above the head to any position that is comfortable. Imagine the arms as branches moving in the breeze. Let them move back and forward. Breathe out.
- Continue letting the branches and leaves sway in the breeze for several breaths.
- Now notice the legs and soles of the feet. Are they firmly planted on the ground? Adjust them until the body is grounded.
- Breathe in, and feel the breath come out the top of the head and sway the tree branches. Now exhale, and feel the breath move down the body and down through the feet into the floor.
- Notice that roots sink down into the earth with the breath. Breathe deeply several times and imagine a system of roots sprouting from the bottoms of the feet and grounding the body deep, deep into the ground.
- Enjoy connectedness to the world as a tree. Move the feet and take a few steps. Even walking, the connection is still there.
- Breathe deeply three more times. When ready, open the eyes.
Meditation Suggestions for Daily Life
The tree meditation may be useful to reconnect with one’s body as well as mind and spirit. It could be practiced during cold weather when one misses nature, or at any time one desires a relaxing escape from the present.
A shorter version of the tree meditation might also be practiced in the midst of a stressful situation or encounter. Take a deep breath and imagine the roots connecting the body to the earth. Even though stress may be high, that stress does not have the power to uproot and disconnect the individual from his/her own life.