For many of us, it's been a long winter cooped up indoors. We feel out of shape, out of sync, and stressed. To rebalance, take a cue from the Huichol, who live in harmony with nature. You can replicate that feeling for a weekend by just heading outdoors for a camping trip. Spending a weekend immersed in nature is a perfect way to click back into spiritual and physical equilibrium.
In the Huichol lifestyle, the outdoors is the world, and living in it means maintaining a calm, life-affirming and spiritual connection with the beauty, cycles, and power of nature. It's a deeply healthy way of existing, where exercise is part of every task, from hand-carrying heavy loads of wood and water, to hiking up to the cornfields, to dancing during sacred ceremonies. It's good for the body, and good for the soul. By living so intimately connected to their natural surroundings, the Huichol get a whole-body workout, and stay stress free.
You can restore your own sense of harmony and calm simply by rekindling the relationship between your physical body and the body of Mother Earth. What we call camping, the Huichols would call simply living in balance. So pick a beautiful place, and get ready to recharge.
Here are four tips to make it really count.
Embrace the sunrise. Just as a change of scenery triggers an opening in your spirit for renewal, witnessing the rising sun will bring courage and brightness to your soul. Take the time to experience the special time in the day to its fullest. At dawn, go out and honor the morning sun, honoring the way it fills the day with brightness. Let a feeling of love for its warmth and light take over your emotions, and fill you with happiness.
Connect to the four elements. While camping outdoors, make sure you come in contact with the four elemental powers: earth, air, fire, and water. Drink pure water, make a fire, stand still and feel the wind on your skin, dig your hands into the dirt of the earth. These elements are spiritual cleansers that help us relieve stress and experience freedom.
Get moving. Take advantage of this trip away to really get your body and your spirit in motion. A hike at a good walk will activate muscles that do not get used when we jog or run. Walking develops the muscles' ability to flush out byproducts of exercise quickly. It also burns fat and increases blood and oxygen flow to many areas of the body. Try canoeing, absorbing the surroundings you as you paddle across the water, renewing your sense of focus and concentration. Moving outdoors in the beauty of nature produces a feeling of peaceful well-being, relieves the negative effects of stress, and improves self-esteem and self-confidence.
Breathe in. The air outdoors is good, fresh air. It's a prime atmosphere in which to take a moment to stop what you're doing, and then sit quietly, and focus on your breath. Use the cycle and rhythm of air going in and out of your body to visualize joy and hope coming into your being. Allow this joy to bring you a sense of calm. Let it wash away whatever is holding you back at that moment.
Every activity in the Huichol's daily routine keeps them intimately tied to their natural surroundings, spiritually and physically connected to Mother Earth. Even for the brief span of a camping trip, you can draw that kind of nourishing strength from nature. As you absorb the fresh air and live in the natural environment, it sends a signal to your soul that whatever rut it might be in can be changed for the better. Even in the span of an overnight, you'll feel a sense of transformation -- a powering up of Fit Soul, and Fit Body.