Walk the trail at local labyrinths for mindfulness

Explore the meditative effects of the labyrinth at The Hydro in Stellenbosch and enter the new year with a peaceful, calm and centered state of mind.

The free gardening app, Candide, believes in the power of nature and they are always looking at ways to harness our green spaces for healthy living.

In a press release issued by the app, they shared how calming influences can be found in labyrinths – the one place you really can’t lose your way.

“It’s believed that labyrinths date back to the Neolithic Age. The word is derived from the Greek labyrinthos, which describes any maze-like structure with a single path through it,” the press release stated.

“However, it is not the same as a maze. Ever wondered what the difference is between a maze and a labyrinth”?

A maze can have many paths, while a labyrinth is a single route to the centre, with one entrance which is also the exit. There is no right way to walk the path and there are no decisions to be made as to which way to turn. With no pressure of ‘finding your way’ or getting lost in a maze… no wonder people find it calming.

This ‘repetition’ of the route is perhaps also why so many people find walking labyrinths meditative. Slow, intentional walking on a set path in a quiet, safe place allows for focus and tends to relax the body, while concentrating on one’s steps is a way to get centered and be present.

Lorelei King, former director of surgery at Michigan’s Mercy Hospital, who noted how her patients were visibly relaxed after walking the hospital’s labyrinth gives tips on how to use the path to reap the benefits:

• Before entering, consider a contemplative question, phrase, prayer or image to hold in your mind.

• While walking, just follow the path and concentrate on your steps.

• Upon reaching the centre: Sit or stand with your eyes closed or looking downward. Take three deep breaths and ask yourself: What am I feeling right now?

• When walking back, repeat the contemplation you began with.

• After walking, reflect on your time in the labyrinth.

To help kickstart your journey of discovery, Candide has put together a list of some cool and calm labyrinths in South Africa and two of these are locally based.

At Simonsig wine estate in Stellenbosch, the Cabernet Sauvignon Labyrinth is the world’s first labyrinth functional vineyard.

At The Hydro in Stellenbosch, the old, disuses reservoir has smartly been converted into an incredible labyrinth, with breathtaking views stretching from Stellenbosch to Table Mountain.

Visit, thehydro.co.za/mindfulness/ and www.simonsig.co.za to read more online about these individual labyrinths. For more labyrinths and to find one in your area, go to, labyrinthlocator.com

The labyrinth at Simonsig wine estate in Kromme Rhee Road, Koelenhof, has the signature Labyrinth Cabernet Sauvignon named after it.