Wednesday, May 27, 2015

5 Ways Retreating Outdoors is Good for Your Well-Being

I remember being a kid standing at the entrance of the Morris Arboretum, and having the distinct feeling of stepping through the gates into a sanctuary. I stepped away from parked cars and the busy street into a softer world that smelled of boxwoods, roses, and jasmine.
This nature was a sanctuary: a retreat and place to pretend I was a princess, a lion, or a swan whisperer. As an adult, a retreat into the Morris Arboretum taps the same child-like sanctuary of wonder and well-being.

As adults we stand at the gates of our well-being and ask:
How many hours do I sit at a desk or inside?
When will I have time to exercise?
Where can I go to enjoy myself and rejuvenate?

Here are five ways retreating locally into nature can enhances your well-being:

  1. Induce a meditative mindset. In a yoga practice, this is called Pratyahara. We withdraw from our busy habitual behaviors and mainstream outer listening and turn our focus to inner listening and attention. We restore our respect for our needs. Accompanied by a tall tree, a gentle breeze or bird song, we return home to our skin, the present moment, and the restorative beauty of silence.
  2. Slow down, relax, restore and rejuvenate the body. The constant flux and changes in nature give us a wise backdrop and context to enjoy the body. The body seeks harmony, fluidity, flexibility, and balance just like nature. Gentle, mindful yoga, reintroduces us to the flux, flow and wisdom of our well-being.
  3. Disconnect from the addiction of stress, technology, and business. Let go of the addictive reliance on email, cell phones, and technology, in exchange for a pure sky, a sunset, and a canopy of elms. A hawk flies overhead, a bunny darts behind the holly branches, and the light sparkles over our face. We unplug and return to our senses.
  4. Enjoy the flow of nature and beauty. Emerson wrote, “A nobler want of man is served by nature, namely, the love of Beauty.” Slow steady breaths. Even with the daily pressures of life, we can make time to enjoy ourselves -  our bodies, our minds and to share the time with others in the beauty of nature.
  5. The fun of self-reflection and self-awareness. Natural meditative environments draw our minds and hearts towards an acceptance of what is. Whether by meditation, meeting new people, conversation with others, journaling or walking, nature can be an immense catalyst for personal happiness, creativity, wholeness, and embracing change.
At the core of our mental, physical and emotional wellness Mother Nature’s meditative beauty restores our sanity and preserves our sense of wonder and ease.

Will you slow down to enjoy your health?
The challenge is for us to practice being a culture that supports true well-being. We can support one another in a deliberate process and practice of mindfully re-connecting to all that sustains us - the fluidity of body and mind. The pure blue sky.

Join Jennifer Schelter, for the Mini-Radiant Retreat - Yoga Retreat at the Morris Arboretum on June 13, 10:00am - 2:00pm. Register Now

Article contributed by Jennifer Schelter, Founder, Radiant Retreats, Co-Founder, Yoga On The Steps

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