Learn to be a Forest Therapy Guide

Learn to be a Forest Therapy Guide.  This is a full two day training for people who are interested in learning to lead individuals and groups in Natural Communion Forest Therapy sessions.  $295.00

Forest Therapy, Forest Bathing, Shinrin-Yoku, Natural Communion are all words to describe a new healthy life style practice, a new form of recreational therapy, a new way of appreciating  nature and more.  It is essentially a mindfulness practice in a natural setting.  The Forest Bathing is an invitation to our senses to awaken our minds, to become a little more calm and at peace.  Practicing this guided meditation in beautiful environments is a delicious way to nurture ourselves, share with each other, and care for the earth.  See below for an article I wrote on Forest Therapy and its benefits.  

Cost includes room and board, which will be primarily tent camping. There are a few indoor options but people are encouraged to sleep outside as part of an immmersion experience which will help support the teaching. The classes will be small, no more than 12 people and no less than 6.  This is the best number for offering forest therapy to groups as well and will give participants a good taste of the group experience.  

Here is the Article:  More details on training follow.  

 

May the Forest Be With You:  Health Happiness and Open Paths.  Forest Bathing for Nature Lovers

If you love nature you will love a wonderful new nature activity that is incredibly healthy and good for us.  Variously called Forest Therapy, or Forest Bathing from the Japanese Shinrin Yoku, or “bathing in the atmosphere of the forest”, this nature activity is a form of recreational therapy that is shown to rebalance our stress physiology.  It is also really enjoyable to do in groups or on your own. 

To take a Forest Bathing or Forest Therapy walk is unique because it is not about getting anywhere.  It is about learning to be fully where you are.  And what is really interesting is that when we pay attention to the sensory flows around and in us, deeply taking in a beautiful natural area, we start to feel better.  This is intuitive for many of us, but now we have some really compelling studies that validate and help us increase the effect.  

Besides a general healthy life style activity for everyone, it is shown to benefit those with ADH, PTS, auto immune, inflammatory and stress related diseases.  It lowers blood pressure, pulse rate, cortisol levels, and activates the vagus nerve and parasympathetic branch of our nervous system.  This is the rest/digest or wine/dine state of being rather than doing.  Nature can help bring us into this state. 

Science is showing in study after study that concentrated intentional doses of “NatureRx” or “Vitamin N” create real and lasting beneficial physiological processes within us.  Any time we are in a beautiful natural area (even a backyard or park will do) and we bring our attention to the immediate sensory environment this inner shift starts to happen.

Some of this benefit is the result of an intentional sensory orientation, a kind of mindfulness within nature.  People who have difficulty meditating often find this is a way they can finally quiet the mind for prolonged periods of time.  We already know this also helps balance and calm us.

Another benefit comes from the plant phytochemicals in the forest.  Plants create their own chemical defenses and the air in the forest is filled with these anti-fungal and anti-bacterial volatile oils.  Plants basically are the source of all our medicines and now we know that we can receive their benefits without a pill or even an herbal tea, but by simply “bathing in the atmosphere of the forest.”   

And to ice the cake, this wonderful activity is really beneficial for nature as well.  This getting present allows us to re-discover our long ago lost connection to the larger world.  We discover there is more here than a backdrop, a platform or stage for our activities, but that we are embedded in this rich and vast network of life and planet and cosmos. It increases our bio-philia. This heals us and is what is needed for us to be more mindful of the earth. 

Anyone can do this on their own, by simply bringing attention back to the immediate sensory experience in nature, but there are many fun little explorations and ways of expanding this and deepening this with a Forest Therapy Guide and we enjoy and learn a lot from each other, so a small group experience is the richest way to learn.  Once you have experienced a guided process, it will support you in your own explorations. 

Our Fredericksburg region has many great locations for this practice, with all our military parks and water front parks, and now an old growth forest is open in Stafford County.  I know will be a prime Forest Bathing venue.  We are also blessed to have several certified Forest Therapy Guides in this region and a training program to learn to be a Forest Therapy Guide. 

You can learn more about this wonderful activity by exploring the url below. 

Darlene Rollins is Retreat Director, Pathwork Helper, and Forest Therapy Guide at Earthwalk Ways Forest Therapy Institute and Retreat, near Fredericksburg, Virginia 22406

http://earthwalkways.com/

Certification:

Everyone receives a certificate of completion for the class, but I recommend each person learn to sustain sensory attention and get present so you can help participants access that state for themselves and not everyone learns at the same rate.  People with mindfulness meditation experience will probably be able to do this more easily than others.  I will offer continuing practice and supervision sessions for those who want more support, and for those who are already doing this on thier own, I will encourage and support you to create your own form of it and share it with others.  

So everyone is welcome and everyone will work at their own pace to be able to teach it.  Everyone will learn the guided relaxation and sensory meditations that make up the body of the practice, and can add their own creations and discoveries.  You will share this with certain populations that you are most drawn to and create unique ways of engaging them. There are online resources to learn about the health benefits and research that is showing that being present in nature is very good for us.   There are books that offer examples of excericises and ways of increasing your presence and awareness.  You will be given a resource list and are welcome to join the facebook Forest Therapy Collective – Mid-Altantic.  

An overview of the program and more information on Forest Therapy is on my website.  http://earthwalkways.com/forest-therapy/forest-therapy-guide-training-classes/

You can put in your 50 dollar deposit to register on this eventbrite location.  Or on my events page on the website.  The balance will be due with a check or cash or on paypal on your arrival.  

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at 540 752 5540.