Yesterday we celebrated the World Mental Health Day with a small hike (6 hours) to Åbittinden.
Åbittinden rises with his 1396 meters above sea level and is located in the middle between Trolltind (1347 m.a.s.l.) and Blåfjellet (1192 m.a.s.l.). Driving from Molde (where we live) to the starting point of the hike takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
The peak is less known than the neighboring peak Trolltind and is not much visited. There is not even a decent trail to the top, not to mention directional signs. We found our way and reached the top after 3,5-hour of walking, hiking, and climbing. The weather was beautiful and warm and the view amazing.
All those long hours I spend climbing to the top of those mountains, I practice yoga in different ways. The sixth limb of yoga is concentration. You have to be 100 % present and focused during your climbing. The trail is often steep and some of those stones move under your feet. The fourth limb of yoga is pranayama, the breath control. I would lie if I said I was never afraid. I am afraid of heights and climbing steep cliffs, but then I practice my yogic breathing and pranayama. Meditation is the seventh limb of yoga, conscious management of thoughts. Being here and now.
Maybe you have heard about "Forest bathing"? It is the practice of spending time in the forest to promote physical and emotional health, very popular in Japan right now. And there is a reason why. When we are outside in nature, we experience ourselves, the world around us and feel there is something greater than us. We feel more connected to ourselves and others. Maybe we should start using a new trendy term here in Norway "Mountain Bathing"?
Research tells us that spending time in nature alleviates stress, anxiety, depression, while it boosts creativity and sharpens focus. Next time you take a hike, try deepening your experience, making it a meditation.