Wellness for the body and mind – the Miami County Park District focuses on both.
The Mindfulness in Motion program and Mindfulness Trail offer ways to decrease stress while enjoying the natural beauty of Lost Creek Reserve in Troy. Mindfulness in Motion does so through outdoor guided group meditation.
“This program focuses on the physical, mental, and spiritual wellness of the participants and offers an opportunity to practice breathing techniques and guided body relaxation methods, in addition to immersion in the natural beauty of our parks,” instructor Posey Culbertson said.
In pre-COVID times, the program integrated a 15-minute mindfulness nature walk and a 45-minute meditation session but now includes a much shorter walk to the outdoor meditation space. The trail, however, is available to anyone who wants to spend more time practicing mindfulness during regular park hours.
Meditation and mindfulness
As a working single mother of an energetic 3-year-old, Culbertson knows how important it is to integrate mindfulness practice into her busy schedule.
“The benefits of this meditation practice include stress relief, spending time outside, calming the mind, and mindfully grounding the self into the present moment,” she said. “And I think it’s a lot easier and helpful to practice in a group setting.”
The next session is Sept. 13 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Lost Creek Reserve. The program is free but pre-registration is required and available at www.miamicountyparks.com. Participants should bring a yoga mat or blanket to sit on and their own reusable bottle of water.
“It’s geared toward beginners, but it’s so relaxing and such a welcoming place, it’s great for anyone,” Culbertson said.
Participants get more than a single evening of relaxation from the practice as the mindfulness techniques learned in class can be utilized at home or in any other setting.
However, mindfulness doesn’t need to be scheduled as the Mindfulness Trail at Lost Creek Reserve was developed as a place to help people relax, refresh and restore focus. At each of 10 marked locations along the scenic trail there are signs with suggested mindfulness activities.
Start with mindful breathing underneath a canopy of maple trees before wandering through the Lost Creek garden and enjoying the hillside pond. Imagine life long ago at the historic homestead and enjoy the sights and smells at the nearby herb garden. Enjoy a stroll through the courtyard and relax on the bench in the shade of the beech tree.
Three additional locations are situated just beyond the cemetery into the woods including a natural play area – ideal for kids of all ages. Wildlife is in abundance along the scenic oak savanna trail and the peaceful shore of the gently flowing Lost Creek provides a perfect place for reflection.
The trailside reflections can be used as a template for mindfulness excursions in other parks or even your own backyard.
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