By Jane Innis - Forest Bathing guide for Way to Wellbeing Team Days.
We can often feel pressure to focus on to do lists, planning and getting things done.
I want to remind us to kick back, enjoy the things we take for granted in nature. This allows other things in life to sort themselves out & fall into place.
Going solo. Simple activities we can do alone, in the natural environment for a deeper connection.
Have you tried being alone in nature? Even if you can only grab a few minutes. Alone we can give nature our full attention without being deep in conversation and thinking too much.
Beyond walking and a journey through our senses. What else works in nature?
Here are some of my other favourite activities that leave me feeling, re-centred, invigorated, peaceful, and refreshed. They quieten my monkey mind thoughts and are so much fun to do.
These exercises help us to have an immersive experience, to really feel we are bathing in the beauty of nature and can be done in even the smallest of parks/rec grounds. All you need is a grassy area and a few trees….
1. Take off your shoes and go barefoot - even if you just stand on the spot, it’s so invigorating and grounding at the same time. I like to bury my feet under a pile of leaves or soil, gently moving from toe to heel flexing my foot in the soil. It can be so cold in winter but it's invigorating. I make sure I put my mobile away from me so that I can connect with a circuit of energy from the ground up to me and back to the ground. You can also add visualisations of drawing in energy through the soles of your feet or releasing unwanted energetic patterns into the ground to be transmuted.
Some quiet time beforehand will help you to feel guided as to what is right for you at that moment. Or you might just want to do a barefoot walking meditation, slowly walking and focusing on each step.
2. Lay down somewhere on the ground / the grass and just stare at the sky - Taking in the patterns and shapes you might see in the clouds. As adults, we don’t spend nearly enough time just laying down in the open air in nature. Thoughts will cross your mind just like the clouds or planes cross the sky. We can choose which thoughts we want to follow and which we just allow to pass.
3. Be like squirrel - this is my favourite. Lay down underneath some trees… Looking up at the tree canopies, what are you noticing? Do the trees touch each other? Are they moving? Take it all in. Now from where you lay, find a tree trunk to look at, now imagine you are a squirrel. See yourself as this squirrel journeying up the tree trunk. Where will you go next? Along branches? Allow your mind to be free, to go as you please.
Where do you go? Do you reach the end of a branch? Do you leap effortlessly onto another branch? Even in our mind without limits we sometimes put limits on ourselves. You might find yourself saying you cannot leap. What we see outside can reflect what is going on inside. If you find yourself unable to ‘jump’ as a pretend squirrel, maybe there is something else you are hesitating over in life at the moment. When I started doing this exercise it took a while before even in my mind I could leap with confidence, trusting I could catch the next branch. Now? I’m able to leap and trust with the visualisation and trust more in life.
4. Focus on your breath. A popular one but it really does work. Take deep inhales through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Experiment with the out breaths, blowing the air out, imagining any negative thoughts or emotions leaving. You can also just pucker your lips and blow the air out. The focus can be whilst walking or sitting. Get a rhythm going. Inhale… exhale... A few deep breaths are also a great way to signal to the body you are safe and can relax. The high alert status can be dropped.
5. Sit and talk to a tree. I find ancient/veteran trees fascinating. The thought of all those generations of people who have climbed them and sat underneath them. All the winters and the summers they have experienced. Let trees be our wise elders. Got something on your mind? Share it with the tree. Tree chatting can be like a free therapy session where you feel free to share anything. They have seen it all, I doubt there is a human emotion that they are not already familiar with.
Our lives may have more devices than when the trees were saplings but we probably still have the same desires for love, joy, happiness, and peace in our lives. Just the act of sitting with your back leaning against a tree or being as close to the tree as you can get if on a chair, gives us a sense of being part of the whole wonderful amazing place that is earth. It always brings a sense of calm allowing us to let go of the little things and just feel love and gratitude that we are able to be with a tree.
By Jane Innis - Forest bathing guide, Reiki master and therapy practitioner.
If you enjoy these, why not come along to one of my events: Follow Janes forest bathing and nature spirit events/contact