Jodi & Becki Winter, from Wild Minds, guides us on a journey through the seasons, exploring nature with your mind and allowing you
to feel connected.
A brilliant, calming way to connect with nature is meditation. There is a misconception that meditation is sitting cross-legged, humming to yourself, whilst breathing in a headache-inducing incense. The core principle behind meditation is taking time for yourself to still the mind and take control of your mind and your emotions, rather than them taking control of you.
During a woodland walk, we are all able to access meditation without even realising we are doing it. Stopping to take a photo of a beautiful view, smelling the scent of a flower, or creating a den with your children – any time spent in nature allows us the opportunity to stop, take a break from our mental chatter and be present in that moment – this is meditation.
Meditation takes time and practice: begin by simply closing your eyes and visualising yourself exploring nature. Just 10 minutes a day can really help to lower stress levels, heart rate and blood pressure, increase the release of feel-good hormones such as Dopamine and Oxytocin and allow you to remain in control of your day.
Try the seasons mediation below: Read through the guided visualisation script and then spend 10 minutes, imagining yourself in the setting. Remember, meditation takes practice and if you are struggling, concentrate on breathing – in through the nose, out through the mouth, prolonging each breath to 5 seconds or more if you can.
Find yourself a safe and comfortable place to sit or lie down.
Close your eyes if you would like and let your senses open up.
Take 5 deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth and visualise yourself in a woodland, either a woodland which is familiar to you or one created by your imagination.
The trees are beginning to bud and in some places, fresh leaves have emerged from the buds. There is a gentle breeze blowing on your face.
The sound of leaves rustling above draws your eyes slowly upward. In the tree, you see a small bird building a nest. You feel a sense of warmth as you understand that this means new life will be brought into the world soon.
As you walk through the woodland, you can smell the earthy smell of the woodland floor and as you look around, you see the daffodils and bluebells. The colours contrasting, the greens and browns of the trees and leaves.
You continue to walk slowly and gently forward, noticing the air is getting warmer as you step into summer. The trees are in full leaf and there is a warming gentle breeze all around you, warming your skin. Birds sing at full volume and their song fills your ears and heart. You see adult birds working hard to feed their young.
The air smells warm, with a faint hint of sweetness from the blossom on the trees.
You continue to walk and feel the earth is warm and soft beneath your feet.
You stop and look up at the bright blue sky above, birds flying in formation high above the treetops.
You listen to all the sounds around you and feel completely at ease.
Take 5 deeps breaths and on each inbreath take in all the sights, sounds and smells of nature.
As you lie there you notice leaves beginning to change colour and fall slowly around as you start to feel the approach of Autumn.
The wind tugs leaves from the trees. You walk forward, kicking the dry crunchy leaves as you go.
The colours around you are a fire of red, gold, yellow and orange and the woodland feels alive.
The wind has cooled, but you are not cold, instead you are warmed by the Autumn light bouncing off the golden leaves around you. The smell of the woodland is becoming more earthy and damp and mushrooms sprout from dead wood.
The wind gently pushes you along as you travel into winter, but you remained warmed by the connection you have made with nature, you can feel nature hold you tight and guide you on your journey.
The wind has dropped, and a frost is forming on the bracken and fallen leaves on the floor.
You notice the patterns in the tiny ice crystals and how there are no two the same. You feel calm, full of life and excited by nature.
The skies start to cloud over and snow begins to gently fall.
As you continue to walk snow drifts form to either side of you and the ground is cold and hard under your feet. You feel alive and you are ready to return to a warm fire or blanket waiting at home for you.
Take 5 deep breaths and prepare to return to your body, knowing you can always return to nature in your mind at any time you need to.
Take the feeling of calm and relaxation with you for the rest of your day.
Visit wildmindsnature.co.uk to find out how more about connecting with nature.