Happy Earth Day!
What began in 1970 as 20 million Americans protesting the deterioration of the environment has transformed into a universal holiday celebrating our planet, and our shared responsibility to protect it.
Today, millions of people around the world will show their love for the earth in various ways, while government leaders from 150 countries will meet in New York City to sign the Paris Climate agreement—a comprehensive climate change initiative drafted last December.
Whether you'll be spending your day planting trees out in nature or navigating the streets of a busy city, take a few minutes to block out the distractions and remind yourself of the world's inherent beauty.
These guided meditations from two of our mindfulness experts will get you started:
A breathwork exercise with Ashley Neese:
Take a comfortable seat. Breathe deeply in through your nose and exhale out through mouth. Repeat this four times.
Transition to breathing in and out through your nose with long, smooth inhales and exhales.
When you've established steady breathing, bring your awareness down to your hips.
Visualize roots growing out of your hips down toward the center of the earth. Picture their color, density, and texture. Stay focused on the roots as you breathe for the next five minutes.
Release the image of the roots and sit in reflection for a few minutes. Make note of how your energy feels after this practice and anything else that surfaced.
Practice this meditation anytime you feel ungrounded and want to connect deeply to the power of the earth.
A guided meditation with Kaia Roman:
To start, find a place to sit where you can physically connect with the earth. If you can do this meditation outdoors, that would be ideal. If you're indoors, visualize the bare ground underneath the foundation that supports you, and connect with the earth in your mind.
Find a comfortable sitting position with one hand on your heart and one hand on the ground.
Take several deep, grounding breaths. Now bring your awareness to your senses. If you're outside, you should notice sounds, smells, and sensations coming from the environment around you.
Without judgement, simply notice the sensory input your body is experiencing. Continue to breathe deeply and slowly.
Now, bring your awareness to your heart center. As you inhale, imagine you're filling your heart with love, and imagine that love spreading throughout your body. With each breath, feel the love in your heart expanding outward to fill the space around you, continuing to grow steadily.
As you fill your heart with overflowing love, bring to your mind the many things you feel grateful for. You may think of your own healthy body, people you love, nourishing food, clean water and air, and a comfortable home. Feel the power of your gratitude to amplify the love radiating from your heart, eventually encompassing the entire planet.
Now, shift your focus to the Earth. Consider that everything that you experience, love, and feel grateful for is made possible by the incredible planet that sustains you. The air you breathe, the water you drink, the food you eat, and the materials that build your home and clothing all come from the life-giving planet you call home.
Take this moment to silently thank the Earth for all that you appreciate in your life. Expand your appreciation to all that exists simultaneously and harmoniously on the planet.
Close with the mantra, "Healing the Earth begins with my own healing. Love on the planet begins with the love in my own heart."