As a friend of nature I love to be outdoors, thus spending time in the forest is time well spent in my books. Walking around the trees, listening to the sound of the forest has something very grounding and after a short while I feel much more relaxed, able to forget for a moment all the different sources of noise around me.
A while ago my fiancée and I stumbled over a new – at least for us – potential experience: meditating with llamas and alpacas! After a quick research session on the topic and the farm, we signed up.
After a two-hour drive we arrived at the location. The group was a mix of people: families, couples, friends and all of us were very excited to get started.
In the beginning we got a theoretical introduction into the history of lamas and alpacas. To me this was very interesting as I didn’t know much about those animals in particular. Then it was time to meet our hiking companions!
We went to the stables, slowly getting to know the animals. They seemed as curious to meet us as we were to meet them. It is important to note that llamas and alpacas, like horses and ungulates in general, are flight animals. This meant harsh movements had to be avoided. The animals had to be approached exclusively from the front. We held out a hand and gave the animal the chance to react to it. Like human beings, some acted quickly and closed the distance. Every now and then it could get romantic with a llama handing out kisses to the people who let down their guard.
In a following step we grouped up in pairs. Two people with one llama or alpaca. Once this was done we started walking into the forest.
Here comes the meditative part. When you walk around with very attentive flight animals, you have to live in the present. You simply can’t let your thoughts wander around. This is important as you have the animal on a leash, very gently guiding it into the right direction. But you also need to make sure to keep your distance from the other animals in order to avoid them to get startled. Furthermore, you need to pay attention of your surroundings. Is there a jogger coming from the behind? Or a squirrel crossing your path?
While this forces me to be mindful, it also helps me to relax. Usually when I relax I feel much more grounded and can enjoy what is around me right now so much better. Rest assured the hike was beautiful. Having the smell of nature around you, with no reason to rush, going one step at a time with a human being and a llama at your side was blissful.
After around the midpoint of our tour we had a small break and enjoyed a basic yet healthy and nutritional picnic.
Towards the end of our tour the weather turned and it became very grey and started raining. Again the lamas and alpacas provided a lot of calmness and quietness to the group. Most people got very nervous about the rain and hastily looked for their rain gear. It was warm and didn’t look like much rain, so I decided for myself not to rush anything and just take my companion as an example for not being affected by the rain or other negative circumstances. Maybe the lamas are actually Lamas!
The tour ended with a small recap of the day and the possibility to buy a few souvenirs. For more information visit the homepage of the farm: http://hunsrueck-lamas.de/
A Lesson Learned
At one point, when we had to cross a tiny stream which left its banks due to plenty of rain, I realised that in order to get through it (without getting too wet), I needed the llama to stay calm and follow my lead. I took the leash over, which beforehand was shared with my partner (one person each side) and approached stones lying in the river. My llama got nervous, shortly after I got nervous, a little too desperately trying to find a dry enough route through the stream.
Realizing the problem of the llama’s nervousness, I mentally let go of this “fear” and started walking and the llama followed without any issues. We both got a little wet, but water dries, the experience lives on. It was interesting to see the reaction of the llama and when you think about it, you’ll find this reflection of emotions everywhere around you. You can see your emotions in other people, even if those emotions are not necessarily theirs.
When people around you tend to be stressed people, you might find yourself feeling more stressed than you actually are. The same goes for being confident, happy, and aware, it will influence the way people around you feel. This means you should always try to be a happy and positive person. Not only will you feel better like this in the long run, but the people around you will benefit your attitude as well.