In partnership with nature, we nurture the relationships with ourselves, others and the natural environment
Forest bathing: Lancashire & Yorkshire
Mindfulness: Online via Skype/Zoom
Throughout her life, Liz has travelled extensively spending many transformational years living in India, trekking the Himalaya, attending silent retreats and personal development courses, taking her on a fascinating journey of self knowledge and understanding.
Originally from Burnley in Lancashire, Liz emigrated to California in 1987 with her family. She subsequently lived in the Netherlands before returning to Lancashire to study Law and French. This took her to London where she practised law for 11 years but a career for life as a real estate lawyer was not for her!
In 2012, Liz discovered mindfulness and over the course of the following two years, she developed her own mindfulness practice and then trained to teach mindfulness courses. Since then, she has taught mindfulness in India and the UK and has had a busy private practice working with individuals and corporate groups.
However, Liz was drawn to find a practice that combined her extensive learning with her love of nature and is now a Certified Nature and Forest Therapy Guide (trained and certified by the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy).
As a guide (not a therapist), Liz helps participants to slow down, to bring attention to their body and senses, and to the place they are in. A sensuous exchange between the participant and the forest is the gateway to relationship with ourselves, with others and with the natural environment.
Liz offers guided forest bathing walks to public and corporate groups in the Lancashire and Yorkshire areas and recent guided walks have taken place at Gisburn Forest, Browsholme Hall, both in the Forest of Bowland (AONB), Broughton Hall near Skipton and Hagg Wood, Burnley.
Read more about Liz here:
What is Forest Bathing? What is Mindfulness?
Forest bathing (or forest therapy) is inspired by the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku (shinrin: forest; yoku; bath). It is a practice that brings us into sensory connection with the natural environment (or the more-than-human-world!) and into deeper connection with ourselves and others.
A typical forest therapy experience involves a slow and gentle 2.5 hour walk in a natural setting covering a distance of less than 1km. During this time, your guide offers a series of optional invitations that are designed to heighten your sensory awareness. In this way, we turn down the volume on the cacophony of inner thoughts and allow ourselves to truly appreciate the joys of simply being. We complete the walk with foraged or herbal tea and snacks.
Some are calling for forest bathing to be prescribed on the NHS. Stuart Dainton, head of innovation at the Woodland Trust, said "all family doctors should have the knowledge to point patients towards the nearest suitable woodland where they can absorb nature, informally or as part of a structured programme" (Telegraph 6.06.19).
Mindfulness is a state of being fully aware and present without judgement to your current situation, whatever that situation is. If we judge a situation as negative, usually we try to avoid it, push it away or ruminate on how to change it and this causes further distress. Mindfulness practice helps us to accept whatever is going on in our lives, as it unfolds.
Through meditation and theory practices, we learn to observe our thoughts, our feelings and sensations in a detached way so that we do not become consumed by them. In this way, we develop a more peaceful, less stressed, less anxious way to live.
Why Forest Therapy?
For Better Relationships: studies have found that when we experience awe (looking up at trees, watching the sunset etc), we feel more connected to ourselves and to others. It also makes us feel more generous!
For Physiological Benefits: spending time in nature reduces the stress hormone cortisol, blood pressure and heart rate and improves our immune system.
For Psychological Benefits: When we spend time in nature, a part of our brain called the subgenual prefrontal cortex quietens down. And this a part of the brain that is associated with negative self involved thoughts. So less rumination, anxiety, depression.
'Today was magical. I felt alive and hopeful for the first time for ages. It was so simple yet so powerful. It reminded me of being a child when everything was so less complicated. Every sensation was heightened and the ‘fairy tale’ effects lasted even after the walk had ended. I am already looking forward to the next one. It was just the tonic I needed, thank you.’
Forest Bathing Walk Participant