Breathe deep, counting slowly:

Inhale…2…3…

Exhale…2…3…4…

Again: Inhale…2…3… 

Exhale longer than you inhale—push all that CO2 out of your lungs

Feel the ground underneath you holding you up as it has your entire life. Find yourself in the universe…feet planted, legs flowing with blood and feeling, shoulders rolled up and back,  arms at your sides, chest open, chin lifted, eyes closed, lids relaxed…

Breathing.

Feel the gravity of your body as you inhale up…and exhale relaxed. Feel the air around you, the breeze, the moisture, feel the connection to the earth. The atomic energy vibrating far below our level of awareness—vibrating in patterns that make up the dust and stretch the trees toward the sky and churn the soil and the particles that protect us from the sun.

Be here. Be now. Senses awake and alive. And let’s take a walk. 

Therapy is more than sitting on a couch talking

Managing mental health is a daily and long-term process. Even in a traditional setting, therapy is only effective when it transcends the weekly sessions and becomes a continuing journey of curious reflection and self-discovery.

Therapy often involves getting in touch with the distant past in order to understand the present…and strategize the future. It usually also includes practicing healthy routines and regular exercise.

Our species came of age walking under the huge open sky of the savannah, in the dappled shadows of lowland bush, along the banks of rivers supplying water and food and movement. Our bodies yearn to be moving, absorbing fresh air and sunlight, observing the dance of life and decay.

Nature & Movement therapy mobilizes the idea that accessing that ancient and wild element is crucial to understanding how our bodies and minds function in space and time.

Walking exercises body and mind

Anyone who goes for walks knows how you can get lost in thought, pulled into the subconscious slipstream as if hypnotized by the rhythm of your own footsteps and heartbeats. 

Cognitive flow is incredibly valuable from a therapeutic standpoint. Thoughts and feelings come up that otherwise might stay suppressed by a busy mind. We increase our awareness of automatic negative thoughts and begin to challenge and expand our minds toward peace. What better time to explore the rich underlayer of subconscious thought—and how better than bringing a therapist along for the ride?

Just as important, if not more so, is identifying our strengths, abilities, and beauty. Richmond’s wonderful park system provides many a trailhead for therapy journeys. We begin to notice the beautiful details within as we appreciate those details in nature. Through walking in the woods we alleviate the stress and restlessness we build up through the day in the office, on Zoom meetings, managing children, surrounded by hard concrete and metal…and open the valve on thoughts and emotions to clear the way towards more fulfillment and connection.

We talk those through together, exploring where such thoughts come from and how they impact everyday life and function. We create the thoughts we want as we stop periodically to feel the earth supporting us, vibrating through us. We listen to birdsong and the stirring of wind in the leaves. 

Connection is everything—with self, others, and Earth

All of us want to connect and express our deepest nature, yet we can get stuck in old ways of relating. Language itself is insufficient for expressing thoughts and experiences. Nature and movement includes talk therapy and can also include dance, music, and expressive arts—to create new neural pathways of knowing, expressing, and relating. 

Therapy often involves communication practices like learning how to reach out, how to set boundaries, how to express expectations and needs. Those are skills that everyone can improve on, in one area or another. At Nature & Movement we believe that communicating with the ground beneath our feet is just as crucial as with loved ones or in the mirror.

In fact—improving our communication is the reason we’re here sharing these words with you. Welcome to the next phase of Nature & Movement! We’ve teamed up with Quillpower to amplify the song of nature as we see it—as a wellspring of inner peace and a bounty of organic therapy.

Wherever you find yourself, in Richmond or elsewhere, our new library is open for virtual perusing. This blog is a resource for you. Learn about local species and invasives, mental health and stress management, healthy relationship practices and empathy, the psychology of physical activity…while exploring Nature & Movement.

Follow us on Facebook and/or Instagram so you don’t miss the life-changing stories, mindfulness techniques, communication skills, hidden Richmond gems, environmental gratitude, pics, videos, and more that we’ll be sharing regularly.

If we can’t bring you to nature—we’ll bring some nature to you.

Let us know what more you’d like to see!

Guided practice – Grounding Your Body and Psyche

(Steps below, followed by audio track to listen)

Whatever you’re doing, stand up. Breathe slow and deep…

  1. Stand with feet hip-width or wider, allowing the earth to hold your weight as you stand tall and proud. Feet grounded. Head floating upward to the sky above. Breathe…
  2. Bend each knee slightly—feel your bones and muscles balancing. Distribute your weight through your hips. Breathe…
  3. Makes this a sensual experience. Connect to your body’s sense of touch, the colors and shapes, the sounds, your connection to self and others. Breathe…
  4. Roll your shoulders back, spine strong, stomach soft. Sway a little. Feel your muscles relaxed but controlled, supporting and protecting your soft organs. Breathe…
  5. Chin parallel with the floor, breathing deep through your nose; cheeks and ears and forehead relaxed. Breathe…
  6. Your arms float up effortlessly over your head like your fingertips are strung gently with fishing-line to some benevolent puppetmaster in the sky. Stretch. Make an audible sigh. Breathe…
  7. Head lifted comfortably, bring your hands down slowly, palms facing your face, neck, chest, heart, and place them on your belly. Strings released. Relaxed. Breathe…

Repeat as needed. Then join us outside…

Interested in learning more about nature therapy and Richmond spaces?

Say hello so we know you’re there

Wordwork by Quillpower