We all often feel lost and overwhelmed by life in this busy modern world and it is easy to at these times to reach for something to fill the void, null the pain, be it food, Tv, drink, drugs, shopping, sex.. But this time why not try heading outside to your nearest park or wood?
Spending time in Nature brings us back to our real place in the world. It helps us regain our sense of belonging. Many of us have forgotten how to do this – how to be in Nature – and that’s where forest bathing walks come in. Like yoga they connect you back into your whole self as a part of nature. Sharing the experience with others in the group offers us a space to be heard, valued and connect with each other. The forest always offers us wisdoms and insight as we walk, sometimes in ways beyond words and at others through our own or other people’s sudden inspiration. Everything is valued, and time is taken to really be, so you come away with a rich dose of love, medicine (from the essential oils released by the trees and plants), improved concentration, creative inspiration and peace.
For most of our time here on this planet we have lived in harmony as part of the natural world. We evolved as part of it. We tended it and it fed us, sheltered us and inspired us. It is only in the last 0.09% of our existence that this has changed to the way we relate to nature today, something separate and often superfluous to our needs. We do not see what we are doing while caught in this matrix of modern technology and commodity. Like nature we are suffering. Did you know that trees release chemicals (phytoncides) that protect them from attack and these same chemicals boost our immune systems and our NK (natural Killer) cells which help us fight attack from cancers and other disease?
There is scientific proof that time in woodland or forest helps balance our blood pressure, lower our cortisol and helps our parasympathetic system come to the fore giving us a break from the seesaw of anxiety, anger and depression. The health benefits of one day in the woods last up to 30 days.
Forest bathing is a practice that can be learnt and then shared with friends and loved ones. Like other practices, such as yoga, tai chi, Pilates there is something freeing in being held in a class or group. You can dive deeper, give it your full attention, learn from each other and feel a communion of spirit.
Speaking of spirit. Forest bathing originated in Japan and it is believed to draw on their culture of reverence for the more than human world. Their temples of Shintoism are groves of ancient trees, special places of natural power much like our own sacred places in Nature honoured by our Celtic ancestors.
The trees are still here, waiting to see us and be seen and valued. So are all the beings of the natural world. We are all made up of the same molecules as rock, water, plants and trees. These molecules are not static, they constantly interchange as we breathe, drink and eliminate waste. We cannot be separate, we are part of all this is.
“Humans have been evolving for more than 2 million years yet have lived relatively insulated from nature for only the last 10,000 years.” E O Wilson, on biophilia
To book a walk contact me or follow this link
For the last two years I have been involved as a provider in the Dartmoor Naturally Health Project. Aimed at residents in the Buckfastleigh area with low emotional, mental and physical health. The project has been a three year research and action project into the benefits of spending time in Nature in held groups. Running alongside the successful walking for health programme supported by GP’s across the county we have offered, basketry, Forest tai chi, electric bike rides and art in Nature.
The benefits to the participants are huge, as you can imagine and I can only hope that the NHS will continue to fund, promote and support these activities as an alternative to drugs.
I am offering two more Creative Journeys ;
Wednesday 9th August Join Emma Capper and the Dartmoor Naturally Healthy Project for a Creative Journey along the banks of the River Dart in Hembury Woods. We will be collecting materials to create expressive art inspired by nature whilst creating a sense of wellbeing and relaxation whilst enjoying gentle exercise. The workshop is free – numbers are limited so to book a place call Chrissy Mason on 01626 831057 or email email@example.com
Meet at Victoria Woodholme car park 09:45 am for a 10.00 am departure to Hembury. Returning to car park for 1pm.
Wednesday 18th October as above.
To find out about Dartmoor Naturally Healthy next activities here is a link to their facebook page.
Reflections on a Creative Journey at Henbury hillfort from participants
Gave me a chance to get
out in nature with others.
I feel so much more alive being outdoors.
I don’t get many opportunities
to really focus on my surroundings. I have anxiety & stress issues and this has really helped me feel much calmer
Took me out of my hectic lifestyle to drop into myself and find some peace and stillness.
It’s helped me to take some time out for myself and this has been very restorative for me.
This Autumn I am offering a new programme of workshops and weekly sessions for mental health Carers.
A time to put down your responsibilities to others and nourish yourself in Nature.
Learn a practice for relaxing, releasing stress and grounding anxiety.
An opportunity for self reflection and an invitation to share with others in a safe supportive space.
Open up your senses mindfully absorbing the elemental benefit of being in Nature. Find peace and stillness away from the business of your mind.
Experience the beauty of the woodlands throughout the changing seasons.
Step into a space of playful imagination.
Open to your intuition and the whisperings of your own creative muse.