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Teri Vance: Carson City woman leads meditation walks through parks

Teri Vance

We all know we should find ways to relax and also get more exercise. However, it can be difficult to find the time, or it can be intimidating to get started.

Kelsey Kareck has found a way to help people get over both of those hurdles.

Working with the Carson City Parks and Recreation Department, she offers monthly meditation hikes on Carson City trails.

“I choose pretty simple, flat hikes,” she said. “And meditation is an art. It’s up to you what you want to make it. I consider one conscious breath in and out to be meditation. That’s all it takes.”

A Montana native raised by Buddhist parents, Kareck was born into meditation, she said.

“Meditation has been shown to improve focus, help combat depression and anxiety,” she said. “It’s been shown to improve blood pressure. If you sit down and focus on your breath for 20 minutes, you’re not going to get up feeling worse. That’s guaranteed.

“You’re going to feel more centered and at peace. Sometimes, you find your answers.”

Most people meditate more than they might recognize.

“Everyone does it in their own way,” she said. “Watering the lawn can be considered a mediation if you’re in that state — if you’re being present with the hose and the lawn.”

In the past three years, she’s become more serious in her practice.

When she moved to Carson City with her 5-year-old son two years ago to be near her mom and grandmother, she was looking for ways to be involved with the community.

She started going on the interpretive hikes offered by the Carson City Parks and Recreation Department.

“I really got inspired by them,” she said. “I realized this is something really special. This is great for the community.”

She told the volunteers how much she appreciated her experiences and they encouraged her to volunteer as well.

She worked the Tot Trot for Halloween, and there brought up the idea of the hikes that combined walking with meditating.

She hosted the first one in August of last year.

“You can meditate anywhere, but there is something certainly special about doing it in nature,” she said. “The birds aren’t thinking about work, the water is not trying to go upstream. Nature isn’t trying to be anything but itself. When you’re out in nature, you’re reminded to be your true innate self.

“You’re not worrying about people judging you, you aren’t worrying about a deadline. You’re just a part of the natural world around you.”

The next Nature Focused Meditation will be 11 a.m. April 5 at Riverview Park. Follow Carson City Meditation for more details or to RSVP; however, reservations are not necessary.

Kareck said meditation can be particularly helpful in times like these in the wake of the coronavirus. And hiking is a good way to get out of the house and away from crowds without having to buy a ticket to an event.

“We can get so stuck in our heads with everything we have to deal with,” she said. “We forget how peaceful the world can be.”