YogaIowa: The Joy of Being Mindful

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Lena Fox meditates in Des Moines’ enchanted Greenwood Park.

Photo by Kerri Hays

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• SPRING 2015

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6 Kevin Peterson BS. LMT 515.829.9477 3408 Woodland Ave. Suite 210A West Des Moines. IA 50266

ince Lena Fox began meditating a year ago, she’s fallen in love with her perch upon an old bench in Des Moines’ enchanted Greenwood Park. “I have one room in my house dedicated to yoga and meditation, but I love to be with nature.” Though it’s more convenient to practice in her own backyard than the park, her neighbors can be distracting. “One asked me what I was doing!” she laughs. So how do you create an ideal, outdoor home meditation space? Certified meditation teacher Jules Green of Ankeny says there are absolutely no external must-haves for your calming oasis because the power of meditation comes from within. Still, there’s no reason you can’t dedicate a space to show your commitment to your practice or personalize it, making a place you yearn to frequent. First, find security. “A safe feeling is paramount. You can meditate anywhere you feel safe to close your eyes,” says Green. For Fox, and a beginner like me, that might mean fostering some solitude. Tara Dudley, landscape designer and owner of Plant Life Designs in Des Moines, says a lattice screen is a costeffective way to do just that. “If you’re up for some landscaping, plant trees with shielding canopies or tall bushes.” Dudley has plenty of budget-friendly tricks to employ if you’re ready to get more elaborate. “Start by thinking about your journey to your space. If you can, lay a long, meandering stone path to get there. We’re always in a rush, and a path prompts us to slow down and appreciate what’s around us.” Dudley encourages clients to keep a simple horticultural aesthetic for focus. “Use as many plants and flowers as you want, but only use three-to-five varieties. Choose plants with calming scents and a cool color palette, such as lavender, which also makes a nice border plant. Even when it’s not blooming, it has beautiful silvery-green leaves. Herbs are also easy to grow and smell awesome.” One thing Dudley wouldn’t add is roses. Hybridization for better length and bloom has taken away their once alluring scent. Most meditations encourage a comfortable seat. If you don’t have existing seating to repurpose, Green says to experiment. Consider an all-weather floor pillow, a garden bench, or a stone bench. Finally, add any personal touches like the ones Fox keeps in her meditation room: a gift from her son, an inspiring quote, shells from vacations, even a spiritual relic. Keep it personal, keep it simple, and it will be a place you’ll keep coming back to until first frost.

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