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Wellbeing in the woods

People are really waking up to the idea that our own health and wellbeing is intrinsically linked to the health of the planet, to the environments we surround ourselves in.

These courses cater for all interests and abilities giving you the opportunity to connect with and gain a deeper understanding of the natural world through learning these traditional skills.

Bushcraft is a set of skills that’s as old as humans themselves. Making fire, building shelter, foraging for food, using sharp tools and reading the landscape are all activities which we’ve been practising since prehistory. Bushcraft brings us closer to nature and to understanding ourselves.

Health & wellbeing programmes based in natural settings are a fastly growing movement and, at Woodland Classroom, we are firm believers in the power of nature to be therapeutic for everyone. We deliver courses, workshops and therapy sessions set against the backdrop of the beautiful North Wales countryside.

Being close to nature, just feels good, we instinctively know this. However, the science is now unquestionably there to back this feeling up. Studies have shown that spending time in woodland settings reduces stress, lowers anxiety, increases productivity, concentration and creative skills.

Woodlands are a place of calm and peace. We are connected to this environment through our ancestry and our brains have evolved over thousands of years to know this place as our home, no wonder we feel so relaxed after a walk in the woods.

However, if we combine quality time in nature with practising skills such as mindfulness, traditional woodcraft, foraging and identifying wild plants, the mental and physical health benefits we receive can go far beyond what you’d get from just a walk in the woods.

Meet Lea Kendall

Lea, a qualified Counsellor and Mindfulness in the Woods Practitioner, teaches on a range of themes around Nature Connection both as part of her own programme of courses, for group bookings and seeing private clients one-to-one.

Lea

Subjects covered include:

Mindfulness
in Nature

Mindfulness & Bushcraft

Forest Bathing

(Shinrin yoku)

WEEDS FOR WELLBEING

Discovering medicines from the wild

FORAGING

Healthy food for free

Our courses are for anyone who wants to find techniques that work for them to reduce anxiety, relieve stress and build a toolbox of easy exercises that promote healing and help you cope with difficult emotions and challenging times. The courses are not therapy, but they are therapeutic.

Our programmes

Our programme of adult courses is designed for:

  • Newcomers to practising mindfulness in nature
  • Anyone who’s struggled with traditional meditation techniques
  • Anyone suffering from depression, stress or anxiety
  • Outdoor enthusiasts who want to deepen their relationship with nature

“My training as a Counsellor worked toward my long-term goal to incorporate nature therapy into my services. I am passionate about finding ways to increase the self-esteem of people and encouraging motivation through positive experience, shared enthusiasm and a nurturing environment.” Lea Kendall

For details and pricing of Lea’s Counselling & Nature Therapy services, please visit her own website here.

HOW NATURE HEALS US

Environmental psychologists have insisted that the physical and psychological problems of modern society are associated with a disconnection between human beings and their natural environment. But if we combine this with mindfulness in nature techniques and woodland crafts like campfires and foraging etc you get the benefits far beyond just a walk in the woodland.

Humans are ‘hard-wired’ through evolution to hold an emotional and psychological attachment to nature. Placing people apart from nature disrupts our connection with nature and can lead to negative impacts on wellbeing.

In their article, Science Agrees: Nature Is Good For You, The Association of Nature & Forest Therapy says that stress is dramatically reduced by both gazing upon a scene in nature and by walking in nature. Again, cortisol levels, sympathetic nerve activity (your body’s reaction to stressful situations), blood pressure and heart rate were all reduced in participants. The article also talks about the increase in immune functioning and creativity. One study showed a group of outward-bound participants scoring 50% better in problem-solving tasks after 3 days of wilderness backpacking.

PRIVATE COUNSELLING & NATURE THERAPY

Along with running courses Lea also has a Private Counselling Practice, based from her Garden Room at home. She can also see clients for one-to-one sessions at the National Trust’s Erddig and Chirk Castle estates where you will have access to beautiful woodland spaces.

“I have seen first hand how being out in nature can reduce anxiety, help us feel at home with ourselves and allow us to open up to options and choices where before they were hidden. We can connect with our true nature, learn about ourselves more deeply and develop a new appreciation for life. When we connect with our natural selves and all the wonders of the natural world we may come to a point where we never need to feel alone again.” Lea Kendall

Each individual therapeutic relationship can be tailored through the contracting session to suit the needs of the client. The focus of the sessions can develop and change as trust and confidence grows in each other.

Lea has taught clients how to forage for dry kindling, chop their own wood and light their own fire using traditional methods; all this so client and counselor can sit with the warmth of the fire while discussing issues. This has proved to be a truly empowering, renewing and transformative process, enhancing the overall experience of self development

“My job as a Counsellor is made so much easier when we meet in the woods, I become the facilitator of a process of reawakening, the development of a truly wonderful and healing relationship between client and Mother Nature.” Lea

To find out more about Lea’s counselling and nature therapy sessions, please visit her own website at http://www.leakendall.com

We’ve spent a wonderful day today on the Wild Cooking course at Erddig. Lea and James are both great teachers and their different areas of expertise complement each other really well. We feel like we have learned so much but are also totally relaxed after a day in the woods! Hope to come on another course soon.

Lizzy Allen

Wild Cooking course
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