This is a group session for women outside in nature.
We walk : fast and slow, notice, share, laugh, learn.
Moments of silence, stillness just connecting in nature.
We do some forest bathing,
I hold a space for participants to be present and immersed in nature.
A caring supportive safe space.
Participants are guided through a series of sensory invitations.
Guided into a liminal / in-between state space.
In addition to the health benefits the immersion into nature can also lead to a transformative way of knowing and understanding the self.
Through a series of invitations, participants will journey through the senses, focussing on movements, what they can feel touching plants and trees, what they can smell, sharing their experiences. With gentle breathing exercises, tree hugs, grounding /earthing in nature. The variety included in each session depends on the group, the experience of nature that day. Over the weeks participants are also invited to share their concerns, open up to nature. This has a deep unburdening effect. There is time for silence, gratitudes, finding that space between thoughts and actions. The use of nature metaphors in life. Gentle visualisations, short meditations and many energy techniques to take away and use in daily life. All within a space that I hold so that the participant can feel safe, outdoors in nature. CBT in nature exercises can also be added to the sessions. Sometimes we dance.
Oh and of course, how to wee in the woods if we need to.
Body – activity, it’s a light walk around an area. An introduction to more exercise and enjoying movement. Maybe some dancing as well.
Mind – learning information about the plants, nature around us.
Spirit – we connect with nature and give back by being present, caring and expressing our gratitude for everything that nature gives us, such as oxygen, shelter, comfortable climate. Maybe an insect is rescued or a stone removed from on top of a plant.
People – a group will soon connect with each other sharing stories of nature, their own experiences.
Place- as a slow activity we stop and take notice of things like the light through the trees, the birdsong, the falling of leaves, animal footprints, nuts and berries.
Planet – when we take more notice we are challenged to care more what happens, whether a tree is blown over, the bracken doesn’t grow, the soil is dry.
Participants express higher level feelings of connection and build resilience. Gaining insight to their issues and finding solutions. People can find support in self care and support the healing process.
Studies have confirmed the benefits of nature therapy/ forest bathing, time in nature.
Medical benefits summary
- Natural killer cells show an increase in levels after 90 mins of nature therapy.
- Saliva tests show stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol levels are lowered.
- Trauma is reduced and the effects cascade through the body systems.
- Anxiety, depression, anger, fatigue and confusion are all reduced.
- Adiponectin is increased, increasing metabolism.
- Increases activity of the parasympathetic nervous system and decreases sympathetic nervous system.
- Improved sleep.
- Build resilience.
- Increased feelings of well-being.
Studies that have applied the Profile of Mood States have determined nature and forest experiences increase positive emotions, reducing negative mood. Some studies have reported improvements in anxiety and depression responses.
The biophilia hypothesis suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature.