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How to Deeply Connect your Body with Nature
By: Bess O’Connor
The first step in connecting your body with nature is realizing that you are nature – not separate from – but an integral part of it all. Your body is made up of all the same elements, minerals and energy that makes up the planet. Many quantum physicists and scholars believe that everything in the outer universe is a reflection of our consciousness and our body. The percentage of water on the planet, for example reflects the same percentage of water in our bodies, etc.
And though it’s true we are nature-beings, we can still fall out of alignment with our natural selves. Wellness is essentially being in tune with nature and aligning ourselves with the inherent wisdom that is within us all. At a certain time of night, for example, we get tired. That’s the body’s natural circadian rhythm at work. Whether or not we choose to go to sleep at that time, however, is up to us. And not listening to our body’s (often blatant, but sometimes subtle) cues could be the difference between health and sickness.
A new study also shows what everyone already knows and feels – that spending time in nature dramatically reduces stress and is even anti-inflammatory. Researchers found that positive emotions experienced through nature, are linked to lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (proteins that signal the immune system to work harder).
Connecting with ourselves (a part of nature), our body’s signals and the great outdoors are key in optimal wellbeing.
Here are 7 great ways to deeply connect your body with nature:
Change your mindstate. Realize that nature is not just something on the outside in your environment, but a part of your very being.
The same water that flows in the in the ocean runs through your bloodstream.
The same vitamins and minerals in nature are the very substance from which your bones and body are built.
The oxygen that we breathe is a from a symbiotic relationship between humans and trees in which we both provide the necessary element for one another to live and thrive.
The fire that burns to heat up our body is the same fire in any flame or even the sun.
Our bodies are created from nature and at the end of this incarnation we give our physical bodies back to Mother Earth. Through meditation and physically going outdoors, we naturally connect with our extended body.
Cloud- and star-gaze. Looking skyward can be a tool to transcend space-time reality. Many ancient civilizations looked to the stars for guidance and power.
As above, so below.
We are made up of stardust and learning about the stars can take us beyond the mundane and into supreme consciousness. Just like we used to do when we were children, cloud-gazing is a fun form of meditation. So again, look to the sky for that which is already within you, pure energy.
Go barefoot. Our skin breathes and absorbs vitamins and minerals from the earth. If you go barefoot on the beach, for example, the negative ions from the natural salts in the sand and sea are said to have magnificent healing effects on the body. If you’re not near the sand, simply digging your feet into the dirt or soil can be of benefit. In short, let the skin of your feet touch the Earth, on the grass, soil or sand.
Sun and moon gazing. We all look up at the moon at night being that it’s the brightest thing in the night sky. But have you ever looked … for a long time and felt the connection with the moon? We all know the moon is responsible for fluctuations in the oceans high and low tides. But did you know that the moon has a significant effect on our emotional state or “internal waters” as well? Not to mention a woman’s menstrual or “moon” cycle, is directly affected by the moon’s waxing and waning.
Sun gazing is an interesting practice that has been going on for eons. Some people even report not needing food by simply gazing into the sun during certain times of the day (typically during sunrise and sunset). During these times the sun does not have harmful effects on the eyes and is even said to increase energy, vitality and eyesight.
Listen to your body. It’s really simple – when you’re tired – sleep. When you’re hungry – eat. When you’re energized – move your body. When you’re in pain – listen up, ask “why?”, and nurture yourself. It may be that you need a massage, to stretch more or maybe to just slow down … you’ll know … just ask!
Get friendly with the elements. Whether that means you take a swim in the ocean or go camping in the forest, simply put – get into nature. Learn about crystals and minerals and their healing powers. Study the different plants, flowers, animals and all of life’s creatures.
Breathe the air in an area abundant with trees.
Climb a boulder or mountain.
Listen to the birds, the wind in the trees and all the sweet sounds of nature.
Do meditative forms of movement such as tai chi, qi gong or yoga in nature.
Imagine roots growing into the ground from your feet and your arms being the branches of the tree…what fruits do you bare and what are you grounded into?
Imagine you are a hawk in the sky…how would you feel and where would you go?
Imagine you are any of your favorite animals and feel their energy in your body…because it is there.
You are able to tap into any part of nature, because it is inherently in you. No matter how long you stay indoors, at a desk or under fluorescent lighting. The truth remains – you are nature and nothing can take that away from you.
Bess O’Connor, a certified Ayurvedic and Holistic Health Practitioner, explores the heart of health at the core of alternative medicine, massage therapy, conscious movement, nutrition, meditation and other healing traditions.