Parks, forests, coasts, urban gardens, backyards, or any space where nature is predominant are prime places for nature-connection experiences. The activities shared here may be done alone, in pairs, or with groups.
1︱Grounding with Yoga
All life on earth vibrates with electrical frequencies, and every cell in our bodies, nervous systems, and brain waves are affected by the electrical frequencies surrounding us. As beings of the earth, our optimal frequency is the same as the earth’s base frequency, known as the Schumann Resonance. When we are in contact with the earth, ideally with our bare feet, we reconnect with the earth’s stabilizing energy.
Find a quiet place in nature, take off your shoes, and stand on the ground. Feel the energetic charge from your legs, ankles, and feet compared to the feeling of the earth. Stand for a few minutes, until you feel stable. Then, do the following three yoga poses: Mountain Pose, Warrior I Pose, and Tree Pose (shown here). Synched with the breath, these poses absorb fresh oxygen and phytoncides (natural compounds that fight cancer and tumors) into our lungs, tissues and organs.
Find a quiet place and get comfortable either standing or sitting on the ground. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and wait to feel grounded. Become aware of your environment by focusing on one sense at a time. Tune into sound and notice the sounds near and far, the silence in-between sounds, and the whole soundscape. Tune into touch and notice the texture and qualities of the air on your exposed skin. Spread your fingers (and toes) and feel the air between them. Notice the the warmth and coolness from the sun and shade. Tune into smell and notice the different aromas present. Taste the air. Tune into gravity and feel it pulling you to the earth. Gently sway your body. Put your hands over your heart and feel your heartbeat. Return to any sensation you like. Are birds singing? Are trees rustling? Is sunshine warming you? When you’re ready to open your eyes, open them slowly and notice all around you.
On a walking trail, park or open space, walk at a pace that feels comfortable to you for about 20 minutes. No matter how you walk, focus your attention on nature and your breathing. You may like to alternate between slow, brisk, and fast walking. Slow walking fosters a heightened state of awareness and calm. In large open spaces, you can slow walk in circles, expanding and contracting your circles like a labyrinth. Faster walking releases stress and is excellent “green exercise.” Try walking holding your arms out to your sides, like an airplane, or stretching them over your head. As you walk, pause along the way to notice the small wonders.
4︱Make Friends With Trees
Find a tree that attracts to you and make friends with it as you like. Spend at least 10 minutes with your tree. Some possible ways to engage with trees are:
Explore the tree. Gaze at the tree for five minutes. What does it tell you about itself? Trees belong to species and have histories, families, health issues, and unique qualities. Lean against the tree, touch the tree, hug the tree. What knowledge does it share with you?
Climb the tree (safely, barefoot) and find a nice place to sit, relax, and enjoy the view.
Tell the tree a story, a secret, your dreams, a prayer, or a message to a loved one.
Meditate with the tree and exchange oxygen and energies with it.
Stretch your body with the tree, using the tree to stretch your back, legs, and torso.
Nature is a wonderful therapist. Using your senses, let yourself be drawn to an element of nature, such as a tree, a rock, or patch of grass. Sit comfortably with it and ask a question, silently or aloud, that you are seeking support or guidance on. With your senses open and neutral, listen and wait. An answer may come to you in the form of an intuition, a physical sensation, an animal guide, or something else. It is possible that no answer will come, but it may come later.
Create an impermanent artwork made from found elements of nature. The work of Andy Goldsworthy is an inspiration, but we need not go so far! Some ideas for your nature art: gratitude mandala, spirit altar, ikebana, flower rangoli, labyrinth, little house, and bridge. If you’re with others, try a ‘gallery walk’ to share and enjoy your creations.
Indigenous cultures considered animals to be our brothers and sisters and knew how to speak with them, as did saints, sages, yogis and mystics. Animals experience the world in ways that overlap our own, and each species has special powers and characteristics. We can learn to appreciate animals by bring their aspects into ourselves through observation and play. If you are alone, sit someplace quietly and open yourself commune with the animals by maintaining a neutral, open, gentle state of awareness. Imagine the qualities you love most about your favorite animal and bring these visualizations into your own body. After some time, animals will become used to your presence and may come out of hiding.
For groups, stand in a circle and ask people to call forth their spirit animal (or a favorite animal). Then, give yourselves a task, such as building animal homes, or a game to play. After 15-20 minutes of play, reconvene in a circle to create a poem. Begin with a word or sound that suits the day, and then going around the circle each person contributes a word/sound until a freestyle poem emerges and runs its course.
Dance in nature. Dance alone with headphones. Dance with friends. Make a drum circle. Stomp and clap. However you like. Be respectful of nature and dance with it.
If water is present, find a comfortable place to sit beside the water to meditate or simply enjoy the sensation. Water sounds and vibrations calm our brains and nervous systems. Moving waters encourage going with the flow, letting go, movement, change, and creative energy. Still waters encourage self-reflection. If possible, feel the water with your hands and feet. Get a natural foot massage and refresh yourself.
Find a comfortable spot on the ground, lie down, take off your shoes, and take in the life around you. Sky-gaze, daydream, meditate, watch insects, breathe, nap, or feel free to simply enjoy being with nature. This grounding activity will calm and refresh your body and mind.