Today we have a great post for all you busy parents out there that need/want to take some time to slow down and absorb nature vibes. This time of year is always a mad flurry of activities, outings and adventures and it can be very easy to get overwhelmed by your schedule and to do list. However, Brandi Rondinelli of Soulshine Photography is here today to walk us through the benefits of sit spotting in nature, a great way to relax and teach your children about patience, observation and mindfulness.
You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”
― Sukhraj S. Dhillon
What is sit spotting
We’ve all heard of meditation but have you heard of sit spotting? Both are similar in that they involve sitting still and concentrating without any outward activity. However, sit spotting involves the natural world around you and it becomes incorporated into your mindful meditation.
The idea of sit spotting is simple: find a special place in nature and then become comfortable with just being there, still and quiet. In this place, nature will surround you, soothe you, entertain you and seep into you. Sit spotting gives you a personal and intimate place in nature which will soothe, comfort and relax you, as you get to know the location.
Meditating indoors for me was difficult. I find it hard to concentrate, sit still and not let my mind wander when I’m inside my house. Even if my kids are sleeping, there are too many chores and responsibilities on my mind while I’m home. The joys of being an adult…
However, when I started sit spotting outside, I noticed an unfamiliar sense of freedom. Sit spotting stopped my mind’s tendency to wander. The birds chirping in the trees and the wind blowing against my face distracted me from all that was on my mind. It let me focus on the little things like the sounds and the feelings of being out in nature, and less on what was for dinner, when is my next photo shoot and everything in between.
How to get started sit spotting
Find a place in or adjacent to a natural or semi-natural setting where you can sit and observe. Pick a place that’s close. For example, in your backyard, local nature center or neighborhood park, so that it’s easy to get to. Remember the best sit spot is the one you use. We chose our backyard for the convenience. Visit your sit spot regularly, preferably daily or at least several times a week.
Sit quietly there, observing with all of your senses. Listen for birds and other animals. Observe the colors and light. Touch the rocks and moss. Smell the fresh rain or snow. If you want, track your observations with notes and pictures in a nature journal. Visit your location in every season and vary the time of day (morning, noon, night) to see how your spot changes. Eventually, you will know this little corner of the universe better than anyone else.
Benefits of sit spotting
The benefits for meditation and sit spotting are similar as well, and include:
- Increase self-awareness – clarifying your thoughts and allowing you to focus on what’s inside you and/or all around you in a clam positive way
- Becoming grounded and calm – you begin to realize what effect everyday life has on the consciousness and you learn to be more observant and more level headed
- Insomnia – one of the causes of insomnia is the constant stimulation of the brain which is such an issue in today’s society. Winding down becomes harder at the end of the day, but sit spotting can improve the quality of sleep and help sort out the daily mental clutter
- Happiness – if your heart is happy you can be a positive influence on others and become someone other people will want to be around
Sit spotting with kids
Sit spotting is a great way to get kids to sit still and concentrate on their inner self. It encourages them to be observant about what’s going on around them. My son Lorenzo (3) does pretty well sit spotting. He sits quietly, takes deep breaths and just listens. After a minute we talk about what we heard, then we do it again. My daughter Halona (18 months) hasn’t mastered the sitting still part yet, but she watches us will eventually catch on. Monkey see monkey do!
If you’d like to try sit spotting with your kids, there are a few things you can do to get them started and encourage them to be still and observant in nature:
- Create a fun place to sit. For example, my kids and I built an outdoor teepee for our sit spot. They get excited about sitting in the “cool” teepee they helped build.
- Practice sitting crisscross-applesauce and ask your child if he or she can listen and tell you what they hear. You start off by listening and saying “I hear birds chirping, what do you hear?” If this is hard for them, try having them close their eyes.
- Try sitting and talking about your surroundings for 5 minutes. Talk about the plants, colors and shapes they see. Talk about smells and textures. Repeat the next day.
- Start with short amounts of time. Five minutes is a good place to start. If your kids cannot sit for the 5 minutes, shorten the the time and move it up as they get better/more experienced. This will also be a good learning tool that they can utilize in school.
Sit spotting, just like meditation, is not an overnight exercise. Children won’t feel the benefits immediately, but regular practice (5 minutes a day) can bring positive changes to their life and learning ability. Of course, the best thing to do is be a role model and use sit spotting in your life as well!
Hello! I’m Brandi Rondinelli. I am a stay at home-unschooling mama to my two little adventurers Lorenzo (3) and Halona (19 months) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am a photographer for both my business Soulshine Photography and an official Hike it Baby photographer. My family and I love the great outdoors and we make sure to get outside every single day. Whether that’s in our backyard, going for a walk, park, nature center or state park. We have been to 18 state parks and 25 nature centers/hiking spots in Wisconsin and beyond. Our goal is to explore them all!
Follow Brandi on Instagram: @soulshinephotographer