‘With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.’

William Wordsworth

Wellbeing is the basis of a good life. All cultures recognise that trees uplift the human spirit and can inspire us. Forest sessions allow us to bathe in the nourishment of nature, to slow down and rebalance ourselves.

In nature thoughts naturally become expansive and harmonious. From these moments of deeper living, we are able to see life and ourselves more clearly. William Blake felt passionately that how we see a tree is how we see the world, and in the act of seeing we reveal what we are: ‘The tree which moves some to tears of joy is, in the eyes of others, only a green thing which stands in the way,’ he wrote. ‘As a man is, so he sees.’

Etherow Country Park, Compstall, Stockport.

Forest Sessions naturally have several key aspects:

  • Deeper emotional connection with self – increased personal wellbeing
  • Transforming our relationship with nature
  • Creating community – connecting on deeper levels with others
  • Creating eco awareness – caring and taking action for nature

Sessions are not about walking distances but being with nature. We aim often for stillness with easy to follow exercises to connect with nature through all of our senses. The exercises are deceptively simple. An example of a warm-up exercise may be to observe for 2 minutes something that catches your attention. Simple but powerful. The exercises give the mind permission to slow down, to enjoy, to feel, to be. When we naturally sink into the experience of observing, we open our senses and become more alive. When we hear others and their experiences it helps us to deepen into our own.

Slowing down to observe is a powerful experience.

The healing nature of being with trees and plants allows the nervous system to rebalance, restoring calm. Forest plants emit essential wood oils and airborne chemicals (phytoncides) that benefit humans. Joseph Bharat Cornell’s research shows ‘forest bathing’ reduces stress, lowers blood sugar, increases concentration, strengths the immune system, builds up vitality and even has anti-cancer benefits. The Coalition for Education in the Outdoors adds to this: alleviation of potential burn-out, improved mood states and enhanced feelings of pleasure along with mental restoration, improved problem solving abilities and the mitigation of the impact of dementia.

A comparative study of the physiological and psychological effects of forest bathing (in Japan called Shinrin-yoku) on working age people showed being in nature reduced depressive tendencies.

‘[In woods] Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.’

John Muir

The UN Environment Program issued a synthesis report titled: Making Peace With Nature. Released ahead of the fifth UN Environment Assembly, the report presents a strong case for why and how urgent action should be taken to protect and restore the planet and its climate in a holistic way. It also lays out the roles that everyone – from governments and businesses to communities and individuals – can and must play recognising the urgent need to recreate meaningful, restorative connections with nature.

Forest plants emit essential wood oils and airborne chemicals (phytoncides) that benefit humans.

The Forest Wellness sessions last around 2 hours. The sessions are £10 but for taster sessions please enjoy the introductory offer of £7.50. The sessions are in New Mills in the Tors, Marple Bridge by the River Goyt and Compstall in Etherow Park.

For those wanting to go deeper there is the Flourish Forest 6-session Wellbeing course. These courses are closed (no one new can enter once they begin) and so create a deeper level of intimacy between participants and also between participants and nature. They open and widen the sense of being and have the potential of transforming your life, community and nature. These courses consist of 6 sessions, every other week, spanning over 3 months (a season). The course is £90.

Please contact julia.robinsong@gmail.com or WhatsApp +44 7783 729 751 to sign up for more information about dates and meeting place.

Let’s make community!

Etherow Country Park, Compstall, Stockport.

Participants’ reviews of Flourish Forest Sessions:

I really enjoyed it too, and slept well last night after all the foresty goodness. Lovely to meet you all! Thank you, Julia (and Ruth!) 🌳

Thank you Julie and Ruth for creating a nurturing, sacred space to connect deeply with nature and with each other. Thank you everyone for being wonderful companions and for sharing the experience. I’m so grateful to you all 🙏🌳🌿xxx

Today I was walking and I realised I’ve started looking at trees differently.

Thank you all for the wonderful time of deep relationship with nature. You were amazingly. Gros bisous

Once again thank for your support yesterday. Just so you know, I am feeling absolutely energised this morning with a sense of belonging. Special thank you to Julia’s mum. Have a blessed and delightful day.

Really enjoyed it and the not being the teacher side of it- refreshing for me!

After the session I slept better than I have in years. It feels like my whole system has been reset. Thank you!!! ❤️❤️❤️

I have started to not only see but smell the forest more. I’m using my senses more.

Over the weeks of this course my peripheral vision has expanded and become more nuanced. I’m amazed. I missed so much before. What am I still missing? The other day, in Mill Brow I saw, in the shadows, barely perceptible, a lynx! I couldn’t believe it. There is no way I would have had that experience if I hadn’t been doing the exercises.

Online participants’ reviews of Flourish Forest Sessions:

Thank you for this experience, it came in the right time and the right place!❤️

Julia, thanks so much for this beautiful session! It felt great, and I forgot to share – I hugged the tree and I was actually leaning on it… And it felt safe and so energising… just as being in this group tonight.

Thank you very much Julia, I found some excellent thought pathways leading me to a greater improved appreciation. Thank you for leading and finding that space.😀👍

Thanks Julia! That was a really positive experience 😀❤️

🙏🏼💚 Thank you.