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    • Meditation at the Reedsee
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    Meditative Activities in Austria: a Holiday for the Soul

    Whether you're on a riverbank or hiking trail, or even in the ice-cold water, rhythmic movement and a change in perspective will help you find inner peace and harmony

    • Of Activity and Serenity

      The paddle dips rhythmically under the surface of the water. The view is completely different from the middle of the lake. Your eyes scan over the surroundings calmly, peacefully and expectantly, and you pay maximum attention to every movement, no matter how small. Every single sound and smell appeal to the senses in a very special way. Suddenly, your mind is completely still.

      No social media, no emails, no news. A break from being constantly contactable, multitasking, and the perpetual sensory overload. Just you, in the here and now. And what can help us find a sense of inner peace? Meditation!

      Mindfulness and concentration exercises – the key to meditation – calm the body and mind. Because who doesn’t wish every now and again to switch off from their own inner theme park. To experience no thoughts stuck on a giddy merry-go-round; no dizzying daydreams; no emotional rollercoaster. Whether it’s by concentrating on the breath, a change in perspective, or rhythmic, repetitive movements, meditating is an attempt to notice the thoughts and feelings that pop up from an observational distance and to let them pass, and without being carried away by them. This is a challenge that is not always easy for us. 

    • Less (sometimes) Yields More

      More and more studies show that purportedly doing nothing has positive effects on our health. Neuroscientists have found that brain activity and structure are changed through meditative states. This leads to decreased grey-matter density in the amygdala — our fear and stress centre — and at the same time a higher density in the hippocampus and surrounding region, which are responsible for self-awareness and compassion. As a result, the calming neurotransmitters that are released during meditation counteract stress, lower blood pressure and pulse rate, and reinforce a positive attitude, leading to a good mood. 

      Meditation doesn’t need to be practised only in the lotus position with hand mudras and the eyes closed. This is demonstrated by the range of walking, dancing, and shaking meditations or – classically – various types of yoga. With these, special focus is placed on flowing, repetitive movements that created a so-called "flow", resulting in moving meditation. If you want to treat not only your body but also your soul to some time out, you can apply the concept of dynamic meditation to a number of different leisure activities. We will show you which meditative activities are particularly suitable for you with our list of meditative activities in Austria. 

    Strength can be found in Tranquillity: 8 Reasons for Regular Meditation

    The same principle always applies, regardless of whether you’re on a rowing boat, canoe or kayak. You glide across the water powered by your own strength. What starts out as a purely physical workout can unexpectedly ground you in the moment. Once you’ve got into the rhythm of the constantly repeating moments, you’ll be able to concentrate fully on your surroundings and yourself.

    What’s more, the element of water has a positive effect on our bodies. It’s not without reason that rivers and lakes are popular holiday destinations. The refreshing air and clear water have beneficial effects on our breathing and skin. The blue of the water – known to be the colour of relaxation – has been proven to lower the pulse. And listening to the sound of water splashing reduces stress. 

    •                 Mountain lake in Tirol
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      Lakes and Nature in Austria

      The stunning combination of lakes and mountains is perhaps Austria's best feature.

      As nature intended

    What some people call a “pilgrimage” is referred to as “mindful walking” by others. What both these terms mean is moving attentively, forgetting everyday life and finding yourself. You don’t need to cover hundreds of miles to do this. Even short walks in nature or through the city can have a calming effect. The technique is easy to explain. No matter where you go for a walk, try to notice everything. Every movement, every smell, every sound. Whether it's the forest’s earthy scent, the chirping of birds or the feeling of uneven ground under your feet, the more attention you pay to your surroundings, the more intense the impressions will be. As a consequence, stress melts away, we become calmer and more relaxed, and enjoy the exercise in the open air.

    •                 Hiking in the Zillertal in Tirol
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      Walking and Hiking in Austria

      Austria's network of hiking trails is well sign-posted and offers routes for every level - from leisure hike to Alpine climbing. Or you could just take a stroll around one of our lakes.

      Take a hike

    Summer is coming to an end and with it the bathing season too. You’d be wrong to think that, though, because in some places, winter also offers the opportunity for bathing trips – with a small but subtle difference: water temperatures are around freezing point. The intense sensations when ice bathing automatically brings you into the here and now. Calm, deep and even breathing also helps your body deal with the sudden shock of the cold. What are the benefits? Ice bathing not only strengthens the immune system and promotes health, but also teaches the body to deal with stressful situations and to remain calm. 

    When ice bathing, it’s important to always put time into preparation and follow-up, and to have somebody with you to help in case of emergency. 

    •                 Finding the Winter Light - winter walk in the region of Altenmarkt-Zauchensee
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      Ice, Ice Bathing – Not for the Faint-Hearted

      Diving into a frozen lake in winter may sound insane to many. For Patricia Schuhmacher, however, it’s the perfect remedy against the winter blues. We spoke to her and water rescuer Hansjörg Ransmayr about ice bathing.

      Read more

    Nature as a type of giant picture puzzle. However, unlike in those traditional ones you get in magazines, when doing this activity you’re not trying to spot mistakes or differences. Birdwatching, as the name suggests, is about searching for birds and their habitats. This detailed look at the surroundings opens up a whole new world for observers: that of the birds. All that you need is a little patience, plenty of time, and to keep your eyes and ears open. Relaxation is practically automatic, because if you concentrate on one thing for long enough, you don’t have the chance to get caught up with other things. In addition, birdsong has a relaxing effect on us humans. The reason for this is that natural sounds, such as the singing of birds or burbling of water, evoke positive associations.

    Editor’s tip: don’t forget your binoculars and bird guide.

    •                 National Park Hohe Tauern - Weisssee / Weisssee Glacier world
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      National Parks in Austria

      Austria's six national parks offer visitors the chance to discover nature in its original, untouched state and to come face to face with scenic beauty.

      Find your favourite

    Two elderly white-haired men in olive-green apparel stand in the water with serious looks on their faces for hours on end waiting for a fish to bite. This scene could very well conjure up the word "boredom" – and with capital letters at that. Mistakenly so, however, because if you look beyond this cliché, you’ll realise that more than just a great catch can be landed at the edge of the shore. The mixture of activity and inactivity enables us to use all our senses and immerse ourselves in them more intensively. When tranquillity sets in and we become patient, we learn to observe our surroundings whilst fishing. We listen to the silence and feel the rhythm of nature.

    •                 Fisher on Mondsee
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      Fishing in Austria's Rivers & Lakes

      Thunderous mountain streams, crystal clear lakes, and shady pools where trout, char, and greyling are at home. Fishing in Austria is an insiders tip known to enthusiasts all over the world.

      Read more

    Author: Corinna Meyer

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