Editor’s Note: In honor of Earth Day, Ariana invites readers to bring the body, mind, and spirit into an intentional relationship with the rhythms of our Earth. As proponents of the practice of dance/movement therapy, this mindful attention to our somatic senses, offers a lovely invitation to explore the connection between our bodies and our natural environment.

Photo by Marco Sanchez
Photo by Marco Sanchez

On Earth Day we put in special efforts to clean up and restore our parks. We gather in community and feel good about taking care of our planet.

What if every day was Earth Day? How would you greet the air when you walked out in the morning? With a deep breath, a smile, or feelings of gratitude?

What if we lived each day with a caring connection to nature? What would this look like in your life? How might the natural world respond?

What if the leaves,

stirred to singing

by the breeze,

sing with even more joy

when they notice you are listening?…

What if the trees

beside you

feel the depth

of your pain and longing,

and are quietly reaching toward you,

offering solace and support

with everything they have?…

By Kai Siedenburg

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Photo by Marco Sanchez

Do you like to garden, enjoy walking or hiking, or find satisfaction from spending time with a beloved pet?

Did you know that relating to plants, animals or walking in a natural setting has been proven to help depression and anxiety, and can boost most people’s moods? Most of us don’t realize why we are drawn to these activities, but sense we feel better doing them. In the last two decades, the field of Ecotherapy, (a combination of Ecology and Psychology) has numerous studies proving the healing qualities of being in nature (Chalquist & Buzzell, 2009, Ecotherapy).

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Photo by Marco Sanchez

The next time you’re gardening, playing with a pet, or spending time in nature, try out this 5-step Conscious, Nature-connection practice:

  1. Step outside and begin to open up your senses
  2. See: What can you see that is pleasant? (blue sky, mountains, a tree)
  3. Hear: What do you hear that is natural ? (breeze, birds, silence)
  4. Smell: What can you smell that you like? (flower scents, water, soil)
  5. Feel: What do you notice in your body or mood? (lighter, less tense, more open)

Try this out a few times and notice how it nourishes you.

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Photo by Marco Sanchez

If you like to move or dance, try Dancing with Nature:

  • Look around and choose a natural element that draws you.
  • Visually notice everything about it: size, texture, patterns, solidness, fragility…
  • Like a dancing partner, feel your energetic relationship with this partner.
  • Notice the sensations waking up in your body as you connect to this element.
  • Let subtle or expansive movements evolve naturally in response to these sensations.

When you feel satisfied with your dance, make sure to thank your partner, knowing you can come back to this partner or carry this experience within you.

Spring is in the air, the natural world is blossoming and ready to meet you. Get outside NOW and enliven your senses, uplift your spirit and grow your relationship with nature. This Earth Day, make a vow to live every day as Earth Day!

Reference

Buzzell, L., & Chalquist, C. (2009). Ecotherapy: Healing with nature in mind. San Francisco : [Berkeley, Calif.]: Sierra Club Books.

 

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