Connecting with Nature

“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can”.”

John Muir

Do you feel disconnected from nature and natural rhythms?  In our current society, this is completely understandable and widespread.  Life seems so busy and stressful, that we may be too exhausted to make time for the medicine we crave. Although things seem to have sped up within the past 30 years, back in the 1800s, people were noticing the same problem in Western/European society. They created ‘Nature Cure’ spas to help people back to health by incorporating, old-time, simple, natural methods. Waking and sleeping with the natural cycles of the sun and darkness, walking barefoot on the earth, taking air baths, using hot/cold water applications, drinking spring water, and eating a simple, local diet, are just some methods employed to bring back a patient’s vitality and health.  In fact, the idea that nature is the healer, and we just need to support it by encouraging rest, proper nutrition, and cleanliness goes back to Hippocrates born around 460BC, two thousand years ago in Greece.  It is said that Hippocrates would recommend gymnastics, sea bathing, hydrotherapy, and massage as remedies for illness.

The effect of nature on us is being studied, finding that people who are exposed to nature get relief from symptoms of chronic stress: lower levels of stress hormones circulating, lower blood pressure, slower heart rate. People spending time camping improve their sleep rhythm, and become more relaxed, calm, better able to focus, be creative, and reporting a more positive mind state.

E.O Wilson’s hypothesis of Biophilia, suggests that because we came from nature, we understand the communications of the environment effortlessly. Our brains don’t have to work so hard, as when we are in our human-made world of sensory overload and intense focus. This gives our brain a chance to relax, rest, and rebuild.

A Nature Conservancy poll in 2011 found that only about 10 percent of American teens spend time outside every day. By understanding how essential and healing nature is to us, we can be motivated to make time for it. The more time in nature we can give ourselves, the more grounded, present, and connected we can feel.

On January 16th, I am presenting a class ‘Connecting with Nature for Health”

I will lead a rooting meditation, present on why and how nature benefits our health, ways and ideas that we can connect, and offer inspirations. I will also lead a discussion with the class about how to connect, and why it is important to each of us. Come join us at 6pm at The Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism, 2900 Valmont Road Unit H-1in Boulder. (For more information, visit our Workshops page!)

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Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

The Nature Fix by Florence Williams


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