As humans, our connection to nature is key to our sense of peace, contentment, creativity, health… you name it. Yet, as we move through the hustle and bustle of our lives, evoking stillness in nature can start to feel like a faraway dream. The answer: a Sit Spot.

Sit Spots are simply spots in nature, where we return to connect with and witness life. This age-old practice can be likened to Japanese shinrin yoku (forest bathing), or any nature meditation practice.

Studies have shown that spending contemplative time in natural settings can provide numerous benefits; from strengthened immunity, lower blood pressure, to a general increase in well-being.

This perhaps seems intuitive, but a Sit Spot practice is how we act on this knowing. So, three steps: find a place in nature, sit and relax. It really is that simple, but we’ve listed some extra tips below:

The Where

A bench in your local park, or a view in the bush will be perfect. Equally so will be that beautiful little spot in your garden. If you work in the city, don’t despair. Keep an eye out (or open up Maps) to find the hidden gems. For example: having worked in the flurry of North Sydney for quite some time, I was amazed to find Wendy’s secret garden on a lunch break one day. You might just have a secret nature spot near the office yet to be discovered, and this exercise tends to lead to exactly that!

What you’re looking to achieve is a spot that feels like you’re immersed in nature, that you can visit regularly and come to witness its rhythms and changes. This vantage point can become your classroom of nature, and more than that: a metaphoric microcosm of life!
With witness perspective you’ll be learning, observing, interacting and taking it all in. You’ll notice how birds communicate with each other, how ant colonies go nuts before the rain, which trees flower and when. You’ll see the beauty of this little bubble in all its glory; rain, winter, weekends, the sun’s afternoon warmth, versus the morning glow.

Ideally, your Sit Spot will become one that instantly calms the nervous system and soothes your soul. Returning to it, will feel like a hug from mother earth.

The When

To really take in a Sit sSpot, it’ll ideally be a place that you can visit anytime of the day. This means you’ll experience more diversity during visits. Plus, you do want somewhere that you can drop anything to visit, whenever you feel so inclined. For this reason – parks which shut their gates past sunset might not be for you!

If busyness will detract from your experience, be sure to seek out a place that will be consistently calm. Ultimately, your comfort here really is key.

Note: naturally, sunrise and sunset will be especially magical times to visit your Sit Spot.

The How

Upon finding your Sit Spot, try your best to tune into your senses – and slow down your thoughts.

Afterall, this can be considered a form of meditation. As thoughts do arise, come back to the senses by using prompts around you. Take in the sounds, sights, smells, and general feel of your environment. Become a sponge to nature’s peace and flow. This could be a wonderful time to tap into your inner child. What would have amazed you here, when you were young? What would have made you feel curious, playful or happy? Lean into that direction.

An important rule for yourself could be to minimise (or even better, totally limit) tech use. We’ve all experienced the phenomena of being sucked into our smart phones – so why not limit the possibility before it arises? You can always bring a diary and pen for any epiphanies that may trickle through.

Timing is of course flexible. If you feel rushed, anxious or impatient – start slow, with just ten minutes. You can always build up to an hour or more. Eventually, you might not want to leave! Generally speaking, the longer you sit the more you’ll receive – and you might just learn some new things about yourself in the process…

Here at Happy Buddha you’ll notice our beautiful space is filled with natural Sit Spots. The magical mountains are our backdrop, and the bushland is our nest. If this resonates… we of course invite you to come visit, unwind and take a seat!