Forest Therapy Walk August 21st

At the minimum, I had hoped for a lovely day among the shady apple trees, next to the pond and tiny bubbling stream–even out on the hot July grass. As we slowly moved past water lilies and the nodding raspberry bushes, then shared in a circle later, the morning expanded into an even larger and more important experience for everyone, far beyond what I had hoped for.

This is some of what the participants shared after my first forest therapy walk in July:

[I have] become more aware of the small and large beauty around us, and the greater possibility and actuality of greater PEACE.

You would only be helping yourself [to do a walk]; you have to disconnect to reconnect.

Wonderful for helping you take yourself to another level of mindfulness…

I am calmer. Slowed down. More peaceful.

Won’t you join me on Sunday August 21 from 10 am to 1 pm in Troy on the next walk?  

It’s FREE. (More information below and in the pdf flyer.)

****Use the Contact Us tab above to register for the event.*****

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

NATURE & FOREST THERAPY WALK

SUNDAY, AUGUST 21, 2016, 10 AM TO 1 PM

at a six acre private residence in Troy NY

Led by Diane Kavanaugh-Black: Forest Therapy Guide, yoga instructor, local writer & photographer

This introductory walk is FREE, though donations will be happily accepted.

**Forest Therapy is a series of guided sensory invitations into a deeper connection with nature, that takes place in state parks, nature preserves, arboretums, gardens and private spaces. Light hearted and yet potentially profound, the approach slows us down and opens us to possibilities.

**Forest Therapy allows individuals and groups to experience the healing effects of the outdoors and is accessible to everyone, regardless of age or physical condition. The walks are generally under a mile and on easy terrain. No special knowledge or background is needed.

**Nature and Forest Therapy is a research-based restorative practice which comes out of Japanese shinrin yoku or “forest bathing.” Among other benefits, it has been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and increase immune function. You may have seen recent articles in the Washington Post, Yoga Journal, USA Today or U.S. News & World Report, or on National Geographic Explorer channel.

**Further information and links to scientific research and media reports about Forest Therapy can be found at the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs .

08-21-16 Forest Therapy Walk flyer

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What? Changes Already? Following the Dharma

In re: what is “of-the-essence” lately, I’ve been wrestling with how I feel about leading weekly studio classes.

They’ve been very lightly attended, and in addition, I live in a town with multiple yoga studios already offering a delightful variety of daily classes. I’ve also been reading Stephen Cope’s The Great Work of Your Life, about dharma (simply put, life purpose).

I prepared for each of my scheduled classes, warmed the space with candles and yoga mats, sat in the beautiful silence–and listened.  I watched dawn arrive in downtown Troy, and the hustle-bustle that burst open around 8 a.m. I observed the sun shift through the fall leaves on Monday afternoons.

Because only a small part of yoga is about postures and breathing–yoga also encompasses creating comfort within dis-ease–I asked in the quiet:  What is the meaning of this lack-of-energy, on my part and the part of potential students? And what I am really on fire about?

That’s what I want my life to be:  on fire, lit up, clear on the essence of who I am, what my gifts are, and what I’d like to bring to the world.

In my answers, I kept going to the presuppositions people have about yoga; they think they have to be strong and powerful first, or understand complicated concepts, or be able to wear a bikini or tight-fitting workout clothes to “qualify.”  People WANT to try yoga, but are afraid of injury or embarrassment, being rushed to know something before they are ready, or just not being good enough.

And here I am:  I love listening to people’s individual stories and experiences, having paid attention to the human body and spirit throughout my previous massage career; I know about anatomy and pain patterns, AND how to respond to stress with movement, stretch, aromatherapy, self-care–and now, yoga’s rich variety of tools.  I have used yoga to rehabilitate from surgery and devastating losses; yoga has used me to communicate great and simple truths, to myself.

So I’ve decided–I’ll be guiding people, through a variety of easy-to-attend mini-workshops, to bring themselves as they are and grow from there.  To increase self-compassion, attempt some new experiences (maybe even yoga postures), gently, and then digest them. To pay attention to where their bodies are at this moment,  To slow down. Laugh at the foibles of our busy minds, and humanity.  Feel more deeply. Be a little more present. Learn ways to deal with what life brings, painful or joyous–tools including writing, hiking & walking, breath and meditation practices, and healthful eating.

This is so enthralling! I hope you find something in my on-fire offerings that speaks to you, and I invite suggestions, ideas, dreams, through the Contact Us page here on the website, or in person.

Many of my mini-workshops will continue to be held at my colleague Lesley Kavanaugh’s Troy Healing Arts, where as a studio and healing sanctuary, she is also moving more toward introductory, anatomy- and spirit-based wellness within the approaches of yoga and bodywork.  I am thrilled to be collaborating with her. Look for us at Troy Night Out (Friday, October 25, 5-9 pm) and at Victorian Stroll (Sunday, December 8), at the 270 River Street lobby.

Welcome to Of-the-Essence!

If you’ve been by lately and are looking for classes, please read the latest posts at the “Class changes or cancellations” and “Mini-Workshops” tabs. Yes, changes, already!

Early autumn at Partridge Run

Early autumn at Partridge Run

This website is “under construction,” as we all are:  in process, expectant and wondrously growing, simultaneously feeling the discomfort of new life coming forth.  If you’d like, please “follow” us by email or RSS feed to keep up with the growth, because it is indeed exciting.

As my photo here for fall shows, creek water blurs the details behind a single gorgeous golden leaf.  There’s a sense of hanging, and learning to be comfortable with hanging within the swirling, perhaps moving with what’s around, or not moving. But light glowing through it all.

My hope is to bring that kind of inner stability and peace to my students and the community.

So we appreciate your patience as we build our pages and schedules. Thank you in advance for your feedback, as well.

Please check out the autumn mini-workshops, and Saturday November 2nd Writing & Yoga workshop-retreat, in the tabs above.

Here’s to seeing you around the Capital Region, and on the web.

Jai Bhagwan (May the divine be victorious within you)!