Exploring Ecotherapy and Somatics: Connecting with the Body of GodFeb 28, 2023
“Nature is all the body of God we mortals will ever see.”
— Frank Lloyd Wright
Nature has long been viewed as a source of healing and wisdom. Ancient traditions often described nature as the “body of God,” a way to connect with divinity on a spiritual level. Today, ecotherapy and somatics offer us a glimpse into how nature can be used to heal our minds and bodies. From forest bathing to shamanic wisdom to the sound of waves crashing against the shore, let’s explore how we can use nature to find peace and harmony in our lives.
How Nature Can Heal Our Nervous Systems
Modern science has revealed that exposure to nature can have a profound impact on our nervous systems. Studies have shown that even brief moments spent in nature can reduce stress hormones like cortisol and increase levels of dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins—all key components for optimal mental health. Forest bathing (or Shinrin Yoku) is one popular form of ecotherapy that takes advantage of these benefits by immersing oneself in nature for extended periods of time in order to achieve a state of calmness and relaxation.
Indigenous Wisdom & Nature-Based Practices
Indigenous cultures around the world have long known about the healing power of nature. Shamanic wisdom tells us that everything in the universe is interrelated; trees, rocks, rivers, mountains all possess their own unique energy which we can tap into if we open ourselves up to it. Indigenous people also practice listening techniques such as ‘earthing’ where they listen deeply to the sounds around them—the birds singing, leaves rustling in the wind—to gain insight into their own emotions and experiences.
Somatic Techniques & Embodied Presence
In addition to these traditional practices, modern somatic techniques offer us ways to connect our lived experience with that of nature. For example, you might take slow deep breaths while standing still with your eyes closed in order to become aware of your own body sensations and then compare them with those felt when standing outside near a tree or river. This helps you bring together your embodied presence with that of nature so you can access its healing power more effectively.
Photo credit: Lukasz Szmigiel @Unsplash
Somatic Exercise for Connecting With Nature
Try this exercise next time you're in nature! Find a comfortable spot outdoors where you can sit or lie down uninterrupted for at least 15 minutes. Take three deep breaths and let your eyes wander around your surroundings—notice shapes, colors, sounds, textures... Allow yourself to get lost in this moment without judgment or expectation; simply take it all in. As you begin to relax deeper into your body, notice any sensations that arise within you; observe them without trying to change them or make them go away; just witness them gently until they pass on their own accord. Finally, allow yourself to marvel at the beauty of this experience; savor each moment until you feel fully restored by its healing power!
The next time you’re feeling stressed out or overwhelmed by life’s challenges, try reconnecting with Mother Nature by doing something simple like going for a walk outside or sitting near a waterfall or stream for 10 minutes while focusing on deep breathing exercises. Doing this will help you tap into your inner source of strength so you can continue living life authentically and with purpose! Connecting with the body of God through ecotherapy and somatic practices is an effective way to nurture yourself from within so don’t be afraid to give it a try!
Photo credit: Ryan Tasto @Unsplash
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