Nature Connection

 There are many words to describe the practice of nature connection including Shinrin-Yoku, Natural Mindfulness, Forest Bathing, Forest Therapy, Nature Therapy and Mindfulness in Nature to name a few. 

Shinrin-Yoku also known as Forest Bathing was a term coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 1982 and can be defined as making contact with and taking in the atmosphere of the forest.  More about this history below.

Natural Mindfulness was developed by Ian Banyard also author of the book of the same name, and describes this practice as your personal guide to the healing power of nature connection.

Nature & Forest Therapy with ANFT was inspired by Shinrin Yoku and as well as absorbing the physiological benefits, it also focuses on our relationships with nature and the more than human world.

 

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We were never designed to be so disconnected from nature and mother earth as we are today.

 

 

 

It is estimated that from the start of human time to today, approx 99% of this total time has been spent by humans in a natural environment.  

This new way of life;  constantly busy, frantic and stressful existence is not our "norm" and we are not designed to be living in this way.

Studies reveal that our health is suffering from these prolonged periods of time away from nature and to be able to return to our source (earth) will help us live a  life with more balance and an increased sense of wellbeing. 

 

Nature Connection
Guided Walks

What can I expect ?

Firstly, it is not a hike and it is not a naturist class

 

 

It is a gentle saunter

A series of invitations are offered to you, to help deepen your connection with nature & the more than human world

An opportunity to return to your natural environment

 

 

Each session is 2 - 3 hours

We always run with smaller groups, so booking is essential

 

 

We also run day, weekend and 5 day retreats

Thoughts & Comments

"Being guided means that you slow down in a way that I wouldn't usually do - I feel great"

"I feel so calm, relaxed and refreshed"

"Virtual Forest Bathing today helped me slow down, relax and connect with nature, which I really needed.

It helped me switch off and awakened my body senses"

Spending time in nature is good for us!

"It is reported that after just 15 minutes

your stress hormones will start to decrease."

 

In the 1980's Japan was fast becoming a tech based economy and during this period authorities also recognised that there was a spike in illnesses, auto immune diseases and cancers.  They knew they needed to do something to stop this spike and started exploring options.

Japan's natural landscape is approx 70% forest and someone simply asked the question " What if we brought people back to spending time in the forests" ? and this is what they did.

They found that the trees emit an aroma called phytoncides when they are under threat and this is whats keeps them safe. They found that these same phytoncides help to boost the immune system in humans. It helps to produce the white blood cells known as NK cells that flow around the body killing off stresses and cancerous cells. 

Bearing in mind also that it is not that long in our existence since that we were living within nature as our natural habitat.

Since then there have been many scientific studies  that have found further benefits. Most of these studies have come from both Japan and South Korea and continue today.

Some of the studies have really fascinated me including.... 

According to scientists breathing fresh air helps the brain regulate serotonin levels, promoting greater happiness and wellbeing.

When spending time within the forests it has been noted that blood pressure is balanced. It doesn't just lower blood pressure. For those with high blood pressure it lowers and for those with low blood pressure it raises. It actually normalises it. How this happens, is not yet known.

There has been a link between forest soil and serotonin. There is a harmless bacteria in the woodland soil that acts as a natural anti-depressant. This bacterium can increase the metabolism of serotonin in parts of the brain and controls our cognitive functions (Natural Mindfulness book)

When we look up into the light of the sky this  prompts mood enhancing brain chemicals to be released.

Scientists have also proven that just looking at nature out of your window can have a beneficial effect on wellbeing.

During this lockdown period, I have shared a number of virtual nature connection weeks - guiding you in nature to some of the practices that will help you deepen you connection with nature and your authentic self.

Little moments of nature and tranquility all add to your overall wellbeing. Sometimes these practices just need  10 minutes to sit and connect; tuning into your senses and soaking in the healing power of nature.  

This week long virtual experience will guide you along the way.

 

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Kind Words

Jenny

As soon as you step into it, it feels as though it's enfolding you.

We were guided to use all our senses to tune into things that you wouldn't normally consciously notice.  

A  joyful walk through beautiful woods.

Nicki

This virtual session helped me deepen my connection with nature using different senses which soothed my soul

and took me out of the ‘action’ mode I’ve been in this last week.

Sue

Mindful Walk

I thoroughly enjoyed this walk, I have looked at everything in a completely different way and feel like I have walked this walk for the very first time.

I feel totally refreshed. 

Mags

Mindful Walk

My first forest bathing experience with Maria and I will definitely be going again.
What a glorious woodland to nurture ourselves in.

We felt a real appreciation for our connections with one another's shared experiences.

Our invitations to observe, notice, use our senses and just be were incredibly emotional.

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