Finding your zen means finding peace, and calmness through meditation. It is well known and essential for your health, both mentally and physically. Below are 10 calm spots to find your zen in Vancouver.
Nitobe Memorial Garden at UBC Botanical Gardens – A traditional Japanese Tea and Stroll garden located at the University of British Columbia. Each tree, stone and shrub has been deliberately placed and maintained to make this amongst the worlds most authentic Japanese gardens, outside of Japan. The layout of the garden is a symbolic representation of nature, where there is harmony and balance between masculine and feminine forces, which naturally makes this a place of reflection.
Spanish Banks – This sandy beach stretches for miles along the Burrard inlet with views that will take your breath away and soothe your soul. Whether you’re going for your daily run or taking the dog for a walk, the picturesque views of downtown Vancouver, the North Shore mountains or the sunset on a clear day will be sure to help you find your zen. A little gem that makes Spanish Banks even more appealing to the spiritually minded are the ‘walking a labyrinth’ events, held typically once a month when the weather permits, which allow participants to achieve a contemplative state for prayer, meditation or inspiration.
International Buddhist Temple – A customary Chinese Buddhist temple, located in Richmond, that delivers the philosophies and practices of Buddhism through mediation and altruistic giving. Its design represents that of the Forbidden City in Beijing, and is the most intricate of its kind in North America. The garden features a ‘wisdom fountain’, a granite bridge, two lotus ponds and a fountain with white dragons, and a stroll through invokes deep breaths, serenity to the mind and a sense of responsibility to your community.
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden – First of its kind outside of China, representing the garden traditions of the Ming Dynasty. This local gem has been rated as the best city garden in the world by National Geographic. Offering an authentic representation of the house of a scholar from the Ming Dynasty, the water pavilion, winding paths, courtyard views and asymmetrical arrangement of rocks makes for a blissful representation of nature and energy.
Kits Beach – This is a great place to sit, feel small and soak in the views that Vancouver while you find your zen. From the top of the big rock, you can overlook the Burrard inlet, Stanley Park, downtown Vancouver with Kitsilano at your back. Breathe in the clean ocean air while listening to the water breaking on the rocks. Take a moment to sit on this earthy throne (the big rock) with your eyes closed and you will feel transformed into a king of the world.
UBC Endowment Lands – Completely surrounding University of British Columbia, the Endowment Lands are what seem like an endless forest that is limited only by it’s proximity to the city. A local favourite for dog owners, the Endowment Lands is also home to Pacific Spirit Natural Park, which has an endless maze of trails for walkers, runners and even mountain bikers. Pause during your hike to soak in the astonishing views and sunsets.
Cypress Mountain – Spirituality seems to occur when you’re immersed in to natures most beautiful setting. The mountains, greenery, snow in winter, fresh air and the spectacular views of the city and ocean make visiting Cypress a nourishing experience for the soul.
Vancouver Seawall – Originally designed to loop around Stanley Park, the seawall is now a 22km long scenic path along Vancouver’s waterfront. A very busy spot on a sunny day that attracts walkers, joggers, cyclists and skaters. Find a spot to sit down in one of the many parks along the seawall to close your eyes and soak in the fresh air and ocean sounds, you will surely find tranquility.
Queen Elizabeth Park – Queen Elizabeth Park, a haven for horticulturalists, will be a sure favourite for those who love a view as it is the highest point in Vancouver, at 152m above sea level. Not only does this park have breath-taking views of the city and North Shore, it brings you closer to nature with a blooming cherry tree, a dancing fountain and the stunning Bloedel Conservatory, collection of 200 free-flying exotic birds and 500 exotic plants and flowers.
Yin Yoga – One of the many forms of yoga available in Vancouver, yin yoga is a slower paced style of yoga that requires one to hold a pose, or asana, for a period of time. Designed to apply slight pressure on connective tissues to increase circulation and flexibility amongst joints. Yin yoga allows for a more meditative approach with longer asanas that cultivates a sense of awareness and presence to our surroundings.
Where do you plan on finding your zen? Let us know in the comments below!