Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC

Kripalu Mindfulness Outdoor Experience Guide & Life Coach – Get Outside. Go Within.

Forest Bathing – Mindfulness Outdoor Experience

3 Comments

For the past two and a half years, even during Covid shutdown, guiding people in the forest has been a very rewarding experience.

We have meet up in several locations over the years with very different experiences based on the weather. These locations have included: Rensselaer Plateau Alliance forests, Dyken Pond Educational Center, Mount Greylock State Preserve, Pine Hollow Arboretum, and Grafton Lake State Park.

I personally love being outside in all weather but Fall and Winter are my favorites as I enjoy breathing in the clean crisp air. Participants who come out in the rain and snow always surprise me and make me feel grateful for the opportunity to share the experience with them.

Forest Bathing in Autumn

The participants are encouraged to have an individual experience within the group setting. This allows time for each to explore on their own in silence. Yet to maintain a feeling of being safe while in the woods. There are times when walking in the woods alone may frighten some people and keep them from enjoying the many benefits. Walking in a group allows them to experience time in nature without being overcome by their fear and anxiety. With everything happening in the world lately, taking the two or more hours outside exploring allows them to unplug, relax, take a breath, and enjoy the moment.

A quiet walk in the woods

The slow pace of the walk allows time to stop and take a closer look at all the ‘beings’ residing in the woods. To find patterns, textures, designs. To listen to the sounds of the singing birds, owls, gurgling of water, wind rustling the leaves. To enjoy the sunshine, colorful shades of greens, blues, browns, reds, oranges and array of other colors within this special world.

Forest Bathing allows one to forget about time, issues, and when out long enough to slow down the constant chatter of the mind. Being out in nature – whether the forest, desert, or near the ocean, stream – allows the body and mind to slow down, lowers blood pressure, decreases the stress hormones, and opens one to more creative thoughts. Possibly they will make new discoveries or remember of times when life was simpler.

The participants discover mushrooms of varying sizes, colors and textures as well as moss and lichen.

Autumn Walk – Mushrooms are everywhere
Winter Walk – still mushrooms are found

When guiding a group, in my backpack I like to carry small mats for everyone to have for their sit spots, magnifying glasses which allow them to get a better look, a first aide kit, my own water, bear spray, bear horn, cell to keep track of time so others don’t have to, and a thermos of hot tea with small cups. The goal is to have participants focus on the moment without any thought of what they might need, or worry about what they may have forgotten. The necessities are my concern and they can stay in the moment. It is highly encouraged to leave the cell phone off or on airplane mode. This way, the hectic world is left behind.

Guiding the group

After a while, when the perfect place presents itself for a sit spot, I stop and hand out the little folding mats. Everyone is invited to find a place that feels comfortable to sit or stand for around 20 minutes. In the bitter cold this time is shortened to 10 minutes or until someone shares they are too cold. Once in their position, we sit quietly in open eyed meditation. Once we are quiet birds, chipmunks, squirrels or other critters will visit. Once in a while we may see a deer or other animal. If we are lucky an owl might begin to hoot.

Can you find the participant at their sit spot? In this case their lying spot.
Another participant at their sit spot and the other near the log lying on the ground

At Pine Hollow Arboretum we actually had china tea cups to share with participants for the tea ceremony. No matter the weather, a tea ceremony is always welcomed but especially in the winter.

China cups for a Tea Ceremony in the snow

Once the sit spot and tea ceremony are complete, we get together for a Counsel Session. Participants are invited to share anything they noticed, felt, heard . . . It always surprises me to hear what they have to share about the experience. One thing that they generally have in common is a new sense of peace and connection to nature.

The more you can get out in nature, the more you will remember that you too are nature. We are all connected. Nature is healing, nature raises our vibration, enhances our senses, brings a sense of peace and simplicity.

If you are interested in joining me on a Forest Bathing / Mindfulness Outdoor Experience please let me know and I will share upcoming events.

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Author: spiritofdragonflies

My purpose in life is always transforming and expanding. The focus is still to inspire others to reach their goals, dreams, higher selves, but now mainly to guide you back to a connection with nature, with living simply, finding joy in the everyday experiences. Are you ready to transform your life forever, to enhance your health, peace and joy in life? Allow me to guide you along the steps toward reaching your inspirational, joyful life. I am a lover of life, a certified Mindfulness Outdoor Experience Guide, Certified QSCA Life Coach, Therapeutic Touch practitioner, amateur photographer, and aspiring writer taking steps to reach my own goals and loving every minute. Love and Light!

3 thoughts on “Forest Bathing – Mindfulness Outdoor Experience

  1. This is a wonderful experience and I am glad you lead people to find the inner peace with forest bathing. I do this at my place and encourage visitors to do a bit when they are here.
    The contents of your back back reminded me of a joke –
    “The National Park Rangers are advising hikers in Glacier National Park and other Rocky Mountain parks to be alert for bears and take extra precautions to avoid an encounter.
    They advise park visitors to wear little bells on their clothes so they make noise when hiking. The bell noise allows bears to hear them coming from a distance and not be startled by a hiker accidentally sneaking up on them. This might cause a bear to charge.
    Visitors should also carry a pepper spray can just in case a bear is encountered. Spraying the pepper into the air will irritate the bear’s sensitive nose and it will run away.
    It is also a good idea to keep an eye out for fresh bear scat so you have an idea if bears are in the area. People should be able to recognize the difference between black bear and grizzly bear scat.
    Black bear droppings are smaller and often contain berries, leaves, and possibly bits of fur. Grizzly bear droppings tend to contain small bells and smell of pepper.” 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you
      We actually did have a bear walk behind us during one sit spot last year but were unaware until one of the lady’s husband returned to our location and asked if we had seen the bear. We said no as we were looking out to the wetlands during our sit spot. . The bear had walked right behind without incident. I also carry a bell and attach it when in different areas because we are very quiet when using fox walk method without speaking. One thing we don’t generally carry is food because we walk so slowly we only cover a short distance during our saunters. When hiking on my own the bear spray is handy just in case especially when deep in the woods. With all of the deforestation going on around us I would not be surprised if we did run into a bear. There are only black bears in our area but even so they can do some damage if frightened or if there are cubs around. Good to know that you can just spray the pepper spray into the air and not have to get too close.
      We are always looking for tracks and scat. Although I am not familiar with all there are some that are pretty easy to determine. For the others I carry the fold out guides. Same for trees, birds, reptiles, and flora. Always a great time to be outside exploring!!

      Liked by 1 person

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