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When you’re feeling anxious or depressed, where do you go to get away from it all? Do you long for busy city streets, concrete walls and bright lights, or do you retreat to a calmer and more natural setting? Whether it’s a cozy room with a good view or a remote cabin in the woods, most people prefer the tranquility of nature during times of stress.

While urban landscapes do have their own beauty, found in architecture, cityscapes and picturesque neighborhoods, humans have always had a special bond with the natural world. And throughout the years, science has proven what most of us intuitively know or feel — that nature is good for us, and spending time outdoors can be therapeutic.

Nature has this effect because we are a part of it. We feel this connection when a breathtaking view leaves us in awe, or we stand with wonder beneath a great redwood. But what is it that sets natural scenes apart from others? The answer might surprise you and help you better understand the perks of incorporating nature or outdoor therapy into your recovery, whether you’re struggling with mental health or addiction issues.

The Resotrative Effects of Nature


Research shows that green spaces are beneficial for several reasons. They restore our mental, physical, and emotional health while helping us feel more connected to ourselves and others. That’s because natural settings have unique features not found in urban or man-made environments. The city constantly demands our attention as we commute to work, interact with strangers and check our email or social media, but these stressors are absent in the natural world. Instead of depleting us, lakes, rivers and forests replenish our mental energy without asking for anything in return.

While it might sound magical or even unscientific, this idea is at the heart of attention restoration theory (ART), which posits that being in nature isn’t just enjoyable; it can actually improve our focus and well-being. According to ART, urban settings are draining because they pull us in several different directions at once, forcing our attention here or there with little reprieve. But natural environments have the capacity to give back what this takes from us, providing a space where you can think as much or as little as you want to. In nature, you’ll find opportunities for self-reflection and introspection that can ‘reset’ the mind and body and help you make sense of any problems or difficulties you’re dealing with.

What’s interesting is that simply being outdoors can deliver these benefits. It doesn’t seem to matter if you go for a walk through the woods, swim in the ocean or just sit beneath a tree. As long as you’re comfortable and at ease, immersing yourself in a natural environment can improve your mood and boost your resilience to stress. It can also encourage a deeper sense of self-awareness, making the outdoors an ideal space for promoting recovery from addiction or mental illness. As more providers recognize these benefits, nature therapy is increasingly used in rehab programs to support individuals as they build a healthier lifestyle.

Nature Therapy in Recovery

Healers around the world have long since recognized the power of natural therapies. The Greeks looked to water for its therapeutic effects, while the celebrated Swiss doctor and philosopher Paracelsus wrote in the 16th century, “The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician.” Even today, the Japanese continue the ancient practice of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) — a meditative, immersive experience that helps people unwind and unplug from the modern world.

Far from being a fringe or novel concept, experts have found that natural therapies are extremely valuable in a therapeutic setting. Patients who participate in natural therapy tend to have lower blood pressure, a stronger immune system and less stress than those who don’t. But they aren’t just healthier and happier; the fundamental building blocks of their mental, physical and emotional well-being respond positively to being outdoors, providing a strong foundation upon which to build when integrating more conventional treatments.



Time in nature is about....

necessary rhythm of disconnecting and stabilizing the inner realm as well as re-connecting to and engaging with the world. (reciprocity)

creating time for a daily discovery of, and reckoning with, what is alive within me. 

Calming the nervous system and the overactive mind increases receptivity to not only the inner landscape, but the outer one as well. 

Extending attention outwards beyond personal concerns and the boundary of our own skin sets the stage for more empathy and identification with others, infusing us with a larger perspective. This balance of self-awareness with other-awareness is necessary for the health of both ecosystems as our movement behavior and its affect in the world contributes to more joy or to more agitation. Each moment we are asked by life: Open or close? Speed up or slow down? Push or yield? This is but one of many ways to stop the war at home.

Cultivating the capacity to be fully present—awake, attentive, and responsive to both our inner and outer worlds—can positively influence all aspects of our lives. The presence we develop from this type of responsiveness is it essential as the air we breathe.

Calming the nervous system and the overactive mind increases receptivity to not only the inner landscape, but the outer one as well. This is the sacred dance…disconnecting and stabilizing the inner realm, so we’re able to reconnect to and fully engage with the world around us.

Rewilding is coming into right relationship….With land, with our bodies, with each other.


Rewilding means...

It is about coming into right relatiionship with ourselves, each other and nature.

Rewilding is a pathway to rediscover your deep connection to nature and the more-than-human world.  

It rekindles your bond and reminds you, you belong to an expansive, beautiful, powerful community of beings.  

Rewilding reignites your primal vitality, your senses, and awareness.

Some of the teachings, research, and practices that form this unique rewilding practice are forest bathing (shinrin yoku), nature meditation and observation, nature therapy, yoga, Ayurveda, animal and plant knowledge and connection, wilderness skills, group facilitation and council practice, and more.  Your rewilding guide is also a master of environmental studies and yoga therapist.

 they work together inside a deeper hunger to slow down 

Reduce Stress • Build Confidence • Improve Focus • Enhance Immunity • Connect • Expand

when we’re inspired, we slow down to take it all in.


slow living is a more reflective approach to how we live, work and play


Living should be purposeful, but also celebratory, filled with beauty, joy and gratitude


when we slow down we give back—to the earth, to our communities, our neighbors and ourselves


to build a new story. a life.


to drink in these ideas, ways, and practices (to envision a new story) for ourselves…and ultimately to the Earth, our communities, our families and ourselves


Ecosomatics is a new movement that recognizes how the experience we have of our own bodies is tied to the environment around us. recognized that a body is in continuous dialogue with the environment, giving birth to ecosomatics. This growing field combines ecology with somatics.




We have become profoundly distracted and addicted, and often purposefully numb out just to get through the day.

To be embodied suggests to ‘be at home within ourselves’, to be present and alive to our felt experience, both to the ‘hearts’ and the ‘guts’ of us. This way of being brings us fully alive enabling us to connect with our deeper most authentic voice and navigate from a place of centredness.

"The small shift from somatics to ecosomatics is to extend our perspective from human life to all life, from human movement to all that moves, breathes, lives. These small shifts are perceptual. My breathing is a dialogue with the trees and the plants. That breath is a living exchange at the cellular level, where the notion of "me" both evaporates and unfolds. This inner/outer exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide is an on-going act of balance between me and the other, a movement through which I live into the interdependencies of complex systems. And at the same time, in all of its complexity, I can still rest into the breath, allowing it to take place, unhindered by my thoughts."


Embodied Rewilding is ecosomatics


Eco-somatics is a growing field of research and practice that combines the knowledge systems of Somatics andEcology to expand our felt sense of self to include the wider web of our relations by re-rooting us back into ourbodies and awakening sensory perception.

co--somatics is any set of practices that weave together somatics and the spectrum of ecologies (in this case we'll focus ondeep ecology) which are fields of study and practice that have lineages rooted in indigenous knowledge systems.


Somatics is a field within bodywork and movement which studies the soma: namely, “the body as perceived from within.”


It might be hard to imagine that all humans were once indigenous to place, that our lived experience was fully embedded within the natural world, and our sensory perceptions were suffused in the landscape. As entangled elements interwoven into an ecosystem, we were one body. With great sadness, and to a devastating extent, this primal embodiment has been lost. 


(Separation from nature is the source of trauma as it alienates and cuts us off from the intelligence of our ecological selves and relational nervous system. The alarms are going off and collectively we cannot hear. We are numb to the pain of the world because the trauma of separation is ongoing and the violence of our culture continues to impact our bodies/lands. That is why having a holistic understanding of wellness and going beyond individualistic notions of healing is necessary. We must understand how our body is embedded within relational and ecological systems of interdependence. 

he pressure that we feel in our own life and bodies is the same pressure impacting the fine balance of biological systems, threatening life on Earth as we know it. It comes from the same place. The pressure we might personally feel on behalf of earth manifests in myriad ways such as chronic stress, anxiety, depression, addiction, sleeping problems, digestive issues, and so much more. That same pressure is being applied to delicate life systems and looks the same, except on a global scale: poverty, war, disease, the growing wealth gap, climate collapse, biodiversity loss, etc.



Humanity’s collective consciousness is dissociated from the body of earth. That is why somatics grounded in an ethics of decolonial ecology is absolutely necessary for whole systems regeneration and healing. What we do to earth, we do to ourselves.


Eco-somatics calls us home to the sensual aliveness and intelligence of our living earth body. 


Maintaining a clear channel for energy to flow through is where eco-somatics comes in. Eco-somatic practices support nervous system regulation and re-patterning by learning how to trust and listen to our bodies while deepening our sense of belonging to place. As we heal and become more sensitive vehicles for information to flow through, we become healing channels for nature’s intelligence to operate through us. Victoria Maria of “Body Metta Spore” captures this reciprocity of healing with nature by describing eco-somatics as, “perceiving yourself as a bodyworker for the earth and the earth as a bodyworker for you.” As we heal, earth heals. 


ch an embodied state creates a grounded and connected sense of being in the world which fuels empathy, creativity, purpose, and action. It is in the felt sense of being here now, fully embodied and present to what is arising that we learn to “be with” the wholeness of who we are including all threads of existence woven together across space and time. Adrian Harris of the Green Fuse emphasizes the importance of embodied knowledge as key to our ecological understanding:


“If we have a well-grounded, fully embodied self, we will have a full sensual connection with the more-than-human world. This allows us to be fully connected to that world and to be fully empathetic with it… When we have an embodied way of being-in-the-world, the subject/object distinction breaks down. The notion of a 'body' shifts dramatically from an enclosed 'inside this skin' understanding to a more fluid, open understanding of body/self as integrated within the world, as a single point of awareness within a vast matrix of being.” (17)


Sensuality, that is our ability to perceive through our senses, is the embodied inheritance of our belonging and the channel by which we access our deepest knowing and primal power. A fully embodied sensuality unsettles binary thinking and breaks down the apparent division between body/self and “other.” Like two rivers converging, when we sense both our inner world/landscape and the outer world/landscape an awareness dawns that the two are one.



There was a time in history when all humans were Indigenous, when we lived in full relationship with the more-than-human world, when we respected land as kin, and honored the myriad manifestations of life with reverence and wonder. We knew our place among our relatives, we knew their names and learned their ways. We knew our responsibilities and recognized the sacred laws of Land and Waters. We listened. There was a knowing and necessity to take care of all life. The embodied wisdom was that when we thrive, we all thrive; when we suffer, we all suffer.


There are places where this land-based knowledge still exists and even more where it’s being revived and remembered. The term Rematriation is a powerful word that Indigenous women across Turtle Island are using to describe how they are restoring balance to the means ‘Returning the Sacred to the Mother.’ The Sogorea Te’ Land Trust is a beautiful example of this.


Eco-somatics is a growing field of study and practice that is also contributing to land-based remembrance by supporting people to come back into a grounded relationship to their own bodies and an embodied reciprocity with the living landscape. This is so important because the trauma of separation runs deep and creates modes of being and patterns of behavior that perpetuate the norms and values of industrial growth society that are ultimately violent against and incongruent with nature’s intelligence.


Eco-somatics helps us to counter the culture of desensitization from body and nature by strengthening our ecological resilience. Spending time engaging with the living landscape is co-regulating, soothing, and enlivening. It reorients our nervous system toward nature’s rhythmic movement and flow which stimulates sensitivity, curiosity, wonder, and embodied aliveness. It’s all about coming back to life, coming back into connection with our sensual self, coming back into relational reciprocity and embodied ways of being that dissolve our sense of separation and isolation. 


Our feeling at home and belonging to a thriving world requires a dramatic shift in our cosmological understanding and radical commitment to uprooting the systems that have severed our relational bonds with each other and the natural world.


Eco-somatics is a growing field of embodied research and practice that combines the knowledge systems of Somatics and Ecology. Eco-somatics seeks to nurture ones sense of purpose, vitality and belonging to place (Land/Waters) by restoring ones ecological identity and somatic intelligence.


As a healing and integration approach, eco-somatics aims to repair the disconnection from our bodies (mind/body split) and the separation we experience from the greater body of earth (spirit/matter split) by engaging in practices that support our ability to embody nature; practices that support nervous system regulation and re-wire brain patterns by learning to trust and listen to our inner nature in relationship to the ebb and flow of outer nature.


Eco-somatics is an un/re-learning, consensual relational process whereby healing happens over time, at the speed of trust, and through seasonal cycles of change.


Simply put, eco-somatics is a body-centered and nature-based healing approach that builds resilience, restores vitality and nurtures a sense of purpose and belonging. Eco-somatics centers ones body/land connection which means that the felt sense relationship between the inner and outer realms IS the primary portal for healing and transformation.


As a re-cap, eco-somatics seeks to:

  • expand ones felt sense of self to include the wider ecological web of relationships 

  • restore ones ecological identity (sense of purpose and place) and intelligence (sense of relational responsibility)

  • heal the wound of separation (spirit/matter split)

  • repair disconnection from self (mind/body split)

  • intentionally engage the senses in relationship to the ecology of place

  • invite awareness back into the living landscape of the body and slowly call back instinctive ways of being

  • support nervous system regulation and re-patterning 

  • nurture self trust and create space to listen to ones inner wisdom

  • deepen ones sense of belonging, reverence and responsibility to place


Engaging Your Senses



Strengthens Instinct


Engaging all of our senses is foundational in eco-somatic healing approaches since it is through the senses that we get to directly experience our rhythmic and sensual relationship with the natural world. The senses can be understood as instinctive language pathways which invite us to join in on the nonverbal conversations taking place between bodies within an ecosystem. 


By intentionally engaging the senses in relationship to the ecology of place we invite awareness back into the living landscape of our bodies and slowly call back instinctive ways of being. As David Abram asserts, “Sensory perception is the silken web that binds our separate nervous systems into the encompassing ecosystem.” 


Re-Patterns the Brain & Behavior


The routine of engaging and expanding your senses through eco-somatic practice supports brain re-patterning and behavioral re-programming. Everything that we take in with our senses, combined with what we focus our mental attention on, results in brain patterns which then impacts how we behave and show up in the world. If we are not sensing and focusing our mental attention on nature, then we are inadvertantly dissociating from that embodied relationship, cutting ourselves off from that source of knowledge, and removing nature from our perceptions, world views and beliefs.


If we spend most of our time in cars and indoors, focusing our mental attention on human-centered duties like chores and work, and entertain ourselves behind screens, our perception, vision, and understanding of the world becomes narrowed. We become those things. "If our gaze has turned inside, we won't notice the natural world." Anthropocentrism actually makes it so that for many people nature doesn't even exist within their perception of the wo




The term somatic (as a quality of bodily experience) and the cognate expression somatics (as a field of study) derive from the Greek word soma, meaning ‘the living body in its wholeness’. These terms were introduced and discussed systematically in the 1970’s by existential philosopher and Feldenkrais practitioner Thomas Hanna. Hanna’s aim was to bring together a broad range of first-person approaches to movement based on the human body as an internally sensed and immediately perceived living process of physical, mental and emotional awareness. The term ecology derives from the Greek word oikos, meaning household, habitat or dwelling place. Ecology is the study of how organisms interact with one another and with their environments. By focusing on relationality and interdependence, ecological thinking displaces the human from the center of the world and foregrounds the key role of natural elements like water, plants, minerals and gases for our survival. In doing so, it also aims to encourage our responsibility towards the planet. The emerging field of ecosomatics attends to and investigates the relation between the direct experience and knowledge of the body’s sensations and systems, which is central to somatics, dance and other embodiment practices, with the ecological understanding of and dynamic connection with the larger field of living beings and systems in which human life is embedded.



the emergence of a felt sense of reciprocity between the human body and the tree. 


to find joy in the little things

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Image by Julia Peretiatko



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