Walking, Nature Therapy, Mindfulness, Meditation & Spiritual Wellness Modules
All 3, 5 and 7 day retreats are based in the Razès Gîtes, apartments situated in the heart of the countryside in the south of France. All our walking and spiritual wellness work is most effective with one-on-ones and small groups (up to 6 people). All modules of one hour duration are €20 each. Where sessions are two hours or longer (i.e. some walking and nature therapy modules), the cost per module is €35. The cost of your accommodation in the Razès Gîtes is in addition to the cost of these modules.
Why partake in one or more of our core Walking for Wellbeing & Nature Therapy modules?
- Increased happiness, self-worth and self-esteem;
- Improved immune system activity;
- Reduced blood pressure and blood sugar levels;
- Reduced negatives such as: stress, anger and depression;
- Enhanced cognitive performance;
- Improved sociability, sense of community and sharing.
Whether young or old, spending time outdoors is indispensable for our good health.
Walking for Wellbeing
Walking is the perfect pastime for re-energising, revitalising and re-engaging body and mind with the natural world and gently strolling through the beautiful Razès landscape, alone or in the like-minded company of a small group, promises to do just that. The many benefits of walking have been scientifically proven and include, among others:
- Increased cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness, reduced risk of heart disease and body fat,
- Improved management of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes,
- Stronger bones, increased muscle strength, endurance and improved balance,
- Reduced stress, uplifted mood, increased productivity and creativity.
The Razès is a canton in the Aude located 90 km west of the Mediterranean coast, 90 km north of the Pyrenees and 25 minutes south of Carcassonne, and boasting magnificent views of the Malepère Massif, Corbières, Pyrenees and Montagne Noire. Your accommodation leads you straight out into the Razès, a beautiful, rolling landscape decorated with hills and dales, valleys and peaks, rivers and streams. There are vineyards, woods and old villages dotted throughout. Depending on the time of year, walkers typically pass vineyards and fields of sunflower, poppies and barley, and rocky scrub outcrops, farms, hamlets and villages. The area is renowned for its birds of prey and abundance of wild orchids. Wild fruit and herbs are thriving everywhere in this climate.
Whether guided or exploring the local pathways by yourself, the rural nature of this largely untouched area will have you leave here with your sense of inner peace and outer harmony restored to their natural balance.
Shinrin Yoku - Forest Bathing
The Japanese art of Shinrin Yoku is mostly famously researched by Dr Qing Li and reveals that exposure to plant chemicals known as phytoncides:
- Significantly increases the number of NK (Natural Killer) cells and NK activity and anti-cancer protein activity which all boost the immune system;
- Significantly decreases stress hormone levels (increases parasympathetic nervous activity);
- Increases hours of sleep;
- Decreases tension, anxiety, anger and fatigue;
- Stimulates a good mood;
- Significantly lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
Dr Qing Li also discovered that Mycobacterium Vaccae (M Vaccae) found in soil boosts the immune system which makes us feel happier. Similarly, trees filter pollutants making the air we breathe cleaner. Practising mindfulness walking, standing and sitting meditation in the local forests and woods in the Razès help put us firmly back in touch with the elements that feed and purify us both quickly and easily.
Symbology of Nature - Re-Connecting with Nature
Stepping into the world of mindful walking inevitably has you focus more deeply on re-connecting with the natural, living world around you and your place within it. As you surrender yourself up to your environment, then it is only natural that nature will reciprocate and reveal itself to you in return. As such, spending time in nature can be healing for your body, mind, and soul.
Many nature-based tribes around the world believe that our every encounter in nature holds personal messages, guidance and warnings for us. Indeed, these tribes say that we have forgotten how to 'see' the apparent truth in all things as we have lost sight of the wood for the trees. Through a series of walks, this module offers to reintroduce you with the things you see, touch, taste, hear, smell or sense in the living landscape and, in so doing, help you discover how nature is in fact communicating with you all the time.
Experiencing how nature talks directly to you and understanding the spiritual messages which formerly went unnoticed changes your relationship with nature forever and you will find yourself compelled to move more harmoniously through the world as a result. Learning the lost art of reading nature's hidden signs and messages will expand your mindfulness experience beyond your known individual meditative state to a more inclusive universal consciousness.
The earth is scientifically proven to help grounding - also known as earthing - when humans make an electrical connection to the earth’s energies. The simplest form involves walking barefoot in the grass, dirt, or sand. Humans are bioelectrical beings that carry a positive charge which can build up in our bodies. The earth has a negative charge. When we make contact through grounding, we discharge our excess energy, producing a healing effect at the cellular level. Practising standing or walking meditation barefoot outdoors therefore quickly helps us re-establish our mind, body, soul equilibrium. As little as five minutes a day is enough for most of us to soon feel refreshed, energised and balanced.
Rewilding the Soul
Rewilding the Soul is about taking you out of your ego-driven thinking mind into awareness of and relaxed presence in your Soul Self. It's about freeing yourself of invasive mind-chatter and learning to live your life anchored in the true joy and happiness that are already residing in the depths of your being through exploring different ways of mindfully harnessing your awareness through each of your six senses, in different internal and external environments, to see which work best in finding your inner voice.
Dr Li's research also showed that when people listen to the sounds of nature (birds, water, wind, etc.), they turn their attention outwards and feel restored and de-stressed almost immeditaely. What's more, geosmin is the earthy smell in the soil that humans react to positively as it leaves us feeling revived, particularly after a walk in a wet forest. Negative ions in the air and water similarly give us an energy buzz and feel-good factor.
By tapping into the stimuli which work best for you, you can increase your connectivity with nature enhancing your capacity to self-heal, push back the boundaries to discover the Soul Self beyond the Mind Self and uncover the rewilded you to integrate into your daily lifestyle and way of being.
Cost of Walking, Nature Therapy, Mindfulness, Meditation & Spiritual Wellness Modules
Modules of one hour duration are €20 each. Where sessions are two hours or longer (i.e. some walking and nature therapy modules), the cost per module is €35. Exclusive wellbeing retreats (below) will have their own prices as advertised from time to time.
Exclusive Wellbeing Retreats
From time to time we team up with other specialists to offer popular exclusive wellbeing retreats such as:
- Mindfulness and the natural world;
- Wellbeing for Women – a balanced blend of walking, reflexology and aromatherapy;
- Iyengar yoga for beginners and intermediaries.