Hello radiant souls. I’d love to hear from you about what thoughts, ah-has, or blocks may have surfaced for you after reading my latest blog: 6 Reason Why You Don’t Understand Mindful Movement. Feel free to send me an email!
Before you do, I want to share something very special with you.
As you have seen from my latest blog (or for those who have been hanging around for a while, you already know), the natural world is a key point and an inspiration in my life. And that is why I am so excited to share more details about my latest Mindful Movement training.
In 2019 I added this movement modality to my coaching and yoga toolbox. It allows me to give you more value when you join any of my coaching programs and/or Mindful Movement classes.
Nature inspires my Mindful Movement. And how I move through the natural world. And the nature of ME.
I want your personal “nature”, as well as the beautiful environment that you live in, to inspire your experiences with your body, spirit, and community.
My latest training (and upcoming retreat) provides an excellent starting point.
What is MovNat?
One foundation of MovNat is to move naturally. From getting out of your bed to making your bed. Simple movements like bending over to tie your shoes or ascending the stairs.
Exploring your body’s natural range of motion and coordination will build your physical capability. You can do this in ANY environment, indoors or out. Gardening, cleaning the house, or walking through the forest.
Your job as a mover, is to notice your movement patterns while being curious about your range of motion, posture and your body in general.
Another MovNat foundation is aligning with nature to move naturally, which means getting yourself into the natural world and moving your body in many differnt ways. This will build your resilience and physical capability as you age.
Now you can see why I had to complete my MovNat training given my own love of yoga, movement, and nature. Essentially, nature is OUR playground. Just like it was for our ancestors. Life can be so serious. Why not play more!?
In my last blog, I mentioned how our bodies became more sedentary with the invention of the automobile. But our leg muscles remain genetically large and strong because for thousands of years our ancestors used these limbs to travel hundreds, possibly thousands of miles.
Alas, our modern lifestyle is causing atrophy of our physical prowess. Today’s westerners tend towards stiff robotic motions and sedentarism, which can lead to pain and injury.
Industrialization did provide us with material abundance! And 24-hour gyms. (Our ancestors would be amazed). Even still, it we’ve lost the joy and “free spirit attitude” that gets us to hang on the monkey bars, climb trees, and play.
How many people get to experience the magic of swimming in their local lakes or rivers as a way to “get their exercise”? Not many! Get yourself there!
Move more. Connect with your body and the land you live upon. Then too, you will connect more deeply with your spirit.
“A pattern that has been familiar throughout history is that after a war is fought and won, the tendency is for society to relax, enjoy life, and exercise less… It appears that as societies become too enamored with wealth, prosperity and self-entertainment, fitness levels drop. In addition, as technology has advanced with man, the levels of physical fitness have decreased.”
–Lance C. Dalleck and Len Kravitz
Consider drive times, television shows and scrolling. How about work and class schedules? The accumulation of sitting hours is whittling away the innate body knowledge our predecessors gained from walking, running, and riding horses as a way to get around.
Rest assured, I’m not here to shame how you’re moving through life. Rather, I’m here with a solution that will activate your ancestral wisdom no matter the physical state you find yourself in today.
Even if you have trade skills and lifestyles where you move your body regularly, you likely need more. It can be joyful, pleasurable, and pain relieving to train your body intentionally, with a wide variety of movements.
I welcome you to join my movement classes that are inspired by yoga, MovNat, and mindfulness. I lead livestream classes every Tuesday and Thursday at 8 am in my Mindful Movement Membership. Your monthly subscription also includes two livestream sessions of Forrest Yoga per week.By lifestream, I mean that we meet on Zoom.
Hey, if you have questions about your range of motion, limitations, or required props; send me an email. ALL bodies and abilities are welcome in my classes!
Are you still unsure as to what MovNat is? And whether or not it can benefit you? Try this beginner’s guide. Then let me know what you think.
Why Does Movement in Nature Matter?
It is well known that physical activity and exercise produce feel-good neurotransmitters and hormones. (I broke this down in my last blog). But what about the environment in which you move?
The term, green exercise, was first adopted in the medical research industry in 2003. It basically means exercising outside. And I’d like to provide a wealth of scientific data to demonstrate to you the importance of moving in nature.
Green exercise benefits:
- Recover mental fatigue (more than indoor exercise).
- Attention restoration.
- Reduction in cortisol (stress hormone).
- Enhance connection with others and boost your self-esteem.
- Supports cardiovascular and metabolism.
All this to say, nature supports humans’ socio-biology. And by interacting with nature as a form of exercise, you gradually benefit the environment. Isn’t that kind and enduring!?
When you understand the importance of the wilderness or urban landscape around you, it means that you’re giving time and energy to take care of it. Don’t you love reciprocating joy to the people or places that give you joy? Well, here’s another opportunity!
One way I share my joy and love of nature is on my Instagram page. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Instagram is a social media app for creatives. It’s a place to receive and share beauty.
One simple way to train your mindset towards gratitude is something I call #beautyreport. I practice it when I am out in nature. Sometimes I practice with community when I’m leading a Mindful Movement class or when I’m leading a special adventure class like Yoga and Canoeing on Lake Pend Oreille.
We’ll share #beautyreports on my upcoming Black Canyon Desert Hot Springs Retreat (stay tuned for more details below!).
If you don’t know already, Ayurveda is a major component in my coaching toolbox. And in Ayurvedic science, the five senses are a HUGE part of balancing our internal and external world.
For me, a #beautyreport is way to be more intentional when I go on a walk or an outing. I take notice of what I smell. See. Hear. Even taste. Or what I touch with my feet.
Nature can be found in your urban neighborhood. It’s not just reserved to a local land conservancy or the backwoods.
Just like the “body centered curiosity” I encourage in my weekly Zoom Mindful Movement classes, I encourage you to be curious about the natural world habitats in your hood. While you’re out there exploring, pay attention to how your body feels as you move. Pay attention to the constant gifts that nature gives.
How does Nature Support your Health?
Your connectedness to nature not only provides you with physical and social benefits as mentioned above, but it also impacts the people who know you. And their health!
I’m not saying you are responsible for other’s behavior. OR their health choices. BUT if you have kids or grandkids, I want you to listen closely.
Children mimic their parents’ (and role models’) physical activity behaviors. As well as their attitudes about the activities and choices of exercise. They even mimick judgments about the environment in which activities take place.
When children engage less with nature, (I’ll remind you of the above statistic that adolescents are sitting up to 8.2 hours a day) they are less likely to engage with nature as they come into adulthood. Their pattern of disconnectedness will most likely be passed on to the next generation…and the next generation.
Studies within the Green Paper Nature and Wellbeing Act highlight the ramifications of this separation from our natural world. Issues such as attention difficulties, behavioral problems, higher rates of emotional/mental distress, increased changes of physical illness, and diminished use of their five senses.
“Indoors, we tend to use only two senses, our eyes, and our ears. Outside is where we can smell the flowers, taste the fresh air, look at the changing colours of the trees, hear the birds singing, and feel the breeze on our skin. And when we open up our senses, we begin to connect to the natural world.” — Shinrin-Yoku — The Art and Science of Forest Bathing
(Check out “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-deficit Disorder” by Richard Louv for a deeper dive into this topic).
If you’re struggling to move outside. Or you find yourself only being active in the summer, chances are, you’re copying the attitudes and activities of your childhood caretakers. And that’s ok. (Cultural conditioning is a real doozy).
What’s not ok, is separating yourself from a vast source of energy and aliveness that’s right outside your door. Here. Today. In this stage of your life!
I want to invite you to take a moment right now. Write down 30 minutes worth of outside activity that you can do, this week.
For example… I will sit outside for 15 minutes at 12:30 pm on Tuesday and Thursday this week in order to soak up the daylight with my skin. I will do this even if it’s a cloudy day.
At the end of each day this week, jot down how you felt that day. Keep track of your emotional and mental wellness throughout the week. See if you notice that life feels less stressful on the days you consciously and intentionally go outside?
The above benefits study states that the stress hormone (cortisol) is lowered when you spend more time outside. So if you’ve been judging your belly size… who knows? Maybe all you need is some quality time outdoors!
Add Forest Bathing into Your Routine
In Japan, Shinrin-Yoku means ‘forest bathing.’ It is a therapy that became popular in the 1980s because of it’s preventative healing and healthcare gains. There are even accredited forests for this type of Japanese medicine.
5 steps to a complete forest bathing prescription:
- Leave your phone or other distracting technology at home so you can fully take in your surroundings. (For safety reasons — you need your phone: a) turn it to silent b) notify your loved ones how long you’ll be in nature c) place it in a backpack or pocket where you will not be tempted to take it out. Even for a photo).
- Drop any agenda. Wander as your body naturally pulls to go left. Or right. Or to slow down.
- Take breaks. Take moments for #beautyreports. Notice a tree’s bark. Ask your feet to describe the texture of the ground beneath you. Smell the rotting leaves. Which of your senses are coming alive?
- Sit somewhere. In winter maybe stand or lean against a tree. Gift yourself anywhere from one minute to ten minutes. Focus on your breathing. And play the listening game. How many sounds do you hear?
- When you’re forest bathing with others, make an agreement to talk at the end of your adventure only. Take that time to share your #beautyreport with one another.
“Let’s think of the earth like a giant battery. It has a natural low-level electrical charge. Whenever we do anything with electrics, like wiring up a plug or fixing a light fitting, we always have to make sure that it is safe by connecting it to the earth. We talk about electrics being ‘earthed’ or ‘grounded’
This is what our bodies are like, too, when we bring them into contact with the electrical charge of the earth. As we evolved, we were in constant contact with the electrical energy of the earth. When we are electrically grounded, we are in harmony with nature.” — Shinrin-Yoku — The Art and Science of Forest Bathing
If you’d like to learn the scientific benefits behind forest bathing, click here.
Whether you live in the pacific northwest, like I do, or the desert, I highly recommend moving your body outside! Daily if possible.
Do this for the above mentioned socio-biological reasons. Do this for the people you influence with your presence. Do this so that you can continue to be a great role model. Do this to be a better parent or grandparent. Do this so that you can be a vital and wise Elder.
And most importantly, do this for yourself and for your needs in the present time. Connect to nature so that you can connect back to your OWN nature, your soul.
Vitamin D deficiency can affect your sleep cycles, your mood, and your eye health.
For those of you who have darker days because you’re further from the equator, make sure to get outside to maintain the benefits of sunshine. The best time of day to soak up sunshine in winter is 10 am to 2 pm.
IF you find yourself struggling, not feeling inspired to get outside, I can help!
Check out my Daily Routine 101 coaching program. I dive into urban and forest foraging, which will blossom your nature curiosity. The program is chalk full of hacks that address any blocks you’re encountering. Such as…
- dietary frustrations.
- Lack of time to create the change you desire.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
- Getting rolling with good habits, then falling off track again and again.
- We also address exercise and body issues, like range of motion limitations, and positive body image.
Invitation to Join My Upcoming “Move in Nature” Black Canyon Retreat
This trip is so special to me.
And I’m so excited to invite you to join.
I co-created this Black Canyon (Colorado River and Nevada) Retreat with Breakwater Expeditions to give you a place to disconnect from the stress we’ve all undergone in the last year. Let the river carry you, in a canoe.
This is an experience where you can declare a plethora of #beautyreports. Notice the fragrance of the water. Feel the temperature cool as you float around a canyon bend, and float into the shadow. Listen for the gentle slosh of water with every paddle stroke you take. Slip your skin into hot springs waters.
On your 4-day retreat you will begin your journey near the Hoover Dam. Be prepared to be amazed as the volcanic rock rises on either side of you over 2,000 feet tall! No canoeing or yoga experience is necessary to gain the benefits of this adventurous float.
Breakwater facilitators and myself will help you navigate the river and all the needs of the trip. There will be times where, as a group, we pause to hike. To scramble along rocks and tuck into slot canyons. Your ears will take in the sounds.
Can you imagine immersing your body in natural hot springs that warm you to the bone? Good, because we’ll stop to enjoy these too. We’ll also sit in the belly of a sauna cave, sweatin’ the stress out.
Get to know this land. Expand your knowledge of those who lived here long before these modern times. Open to the history of the land. And the Colorado River.
Our group size will be 7-10 people (guides included). Each person is responsible for travel to and from our starting location. Vegas baby! Lol… After that, a shuttle will pick you up and all of your every needs will be taken care of.
The 4 day retreat (February 26 – March 1, 2021) is valued at $1500. This includes yoga led by me, all camping gear, canoe gear and instruction, excellent whole food meals, and professional licensed guides to facilitate the experience. Shuttle services throughout the retreat are also included.
Other things your Black Canyon Retreat purchase price includes:
- 1 night in lodging, 2 nights camping.
- Ground transport to and from the starting location in Las Vegas.
- Expedition expenses.
- Tents, sleeping bags, and gear.
- Plus endless support and education from me and Breakwater guide(s).
What’s not Covered?:
- Flights or travel to and from.
- Your final night’s dinner back in civilization (if you stay for that).
If the Black Canyon Retreat is calling your name, send me an email. Also reach out to me if you’d like to be on my email list to receive the flyer and more information on this retreat.
P.S. If you think your friend would dig my style, share this blog. Besure to check out my message below for a link to some freebies.
P.P.S. If you’re new to me and my offerings, “Welcome!”
I hope you’re finding value in the information I’m providing.
Everything from recipes. Seasonal meal plans. Habit hacks. Creating a morning routine. Yoga nerd moments. Body posture support. And more.
Go ahead. Free Your Nature!
So much love,