"We are like mountains, or wind, or waves, or flowers. We're just here, never done, connected to everything and we are enough. We are not here to sit in judgment, but to be humbled by the force of love that binds this world together."
A Pocket Guide to Forest Bathing
Some people find their direction early in life...This was not me! My motto has always been, borrowed from Tolkien,"not all who wander are lost" which has circuitously led me to this perfect path that I now find myself on...
THE REDWOOD PATH.
For me, Yoga and Forest Bathing are forks on the same road toward health and well-being. My mission is to offer various pathways for reconnecting with oneself and the natural world through the practice of forest bathing and yoga. I am a certified Forest Therapy Guide through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy and The Mindful Tourist. I am also a 200-hour Registered Yoga teacher completing my training with Soma Yoga Institute. Forest Therapy has been linked to boosting immune function, improving cardiovascular and respiratory health, facilitating attention restoration, and reducing stress and depression. Yoga has been shown to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and reduce stress as well as leading to possible improvements in cardiovascular function, mental health, body awareness, brain function, and balance. While Forest Therapy and Yoga provide these individual health benefits, they also support relationships..... relationships with our natural world, our bodies, our community, and ourselves. I hope you will join me on this journey by wandering with me into the redwoods or practicing with me on the mat!
Perhaps everyone remembers the first time they stepped into a yoga class. I remember it as if were yesterday, though it was more than 20 years ago. It was love at first Warrior Pose! I don't recall ever feeling so powerful in my body. I sunk down into this pose and into a lifelong love affair with yoga. I spent many years convincing myself that I wasn't yoga teacher material. I didn't have the right body..I wasn't able to do all the poses... I was too old. ... but thanks to my training at Soma Yoga Institute I came to see that Yoga is so much more than all of these things:
It is my goal to hold a kind, loving, accepting, and empowering space for you when you are ready to begin your journey in yoga.
The practice of yoga is for everyone.
All practice is valid practice.
Our practice will be different on different days.
There is no perfect pose or perfect body.
Yogis come in a variety of ages, body shapes and sizes and it is not the end result that makes us yogis...It is the practice of yoga that makes us Yogis and this will look different for every body.
Sometimes we may not even see yoga happening on the outside, but inside the landscapes will be ever-changing and evolving with each inhale and exhale.
I grew up as a fourth-generation Montanan in Billings, Montana. During the summer my family headed to the hills at an off-grid summer cabin that my grandfather bought in a blind auction. It was here, in these mountains and meadows, surrounded by Indian Paintbrush, Elk Thistle, and the trout-filled waters of the Little Blackfoot river, that I would lose myself in hopping grasshoppers or finding the ever-elusive four-leaf clover. It was a place of mad adventures and make-believe, as well as a place where I could find great solace in the quiet.
As I got older, I resisted the month without electricity, radios, and social opportunities and was "soooo bored." The magic of that place had been buried deep inside, lost on the busy life of a teenager.
Many years later, after much wandering, I found myself settled down in Crescent City, California --a quiet foggy town snuggled in between the ancient redwoods, the pristine Smith River, and the majestic Pacific Ocean.
That nature connectedness that had lain dormant for so many years began to bubble to the surface.
Life here in Crescent City revolves around nature and the outdoors. I soon was introduced to bonfires on the beach (a crazy thing for a girl who grew up in Montana), swimming and kayaking in/on the serpentine waters of the Smith River, and awe-inspiring walks through the ancient old-growth Redwood Forests. The natural world is integrated into each part of life here in Del Norte County and I think we as a community are all the better for it. My friends and I would walk through groves of Redwoods each Sunday as we "went to church." Each week our senses were immersed in new sights, sounds and smells...We inhaled the damp earthiness of the redwoods and pines, marveled at the variety of fungi, listened to the heavy pounding of the Piliated Woodpecker, and left feeling renewed, less stressed, and breathing just a little bit easier.
When I first heard of Forest Bathing/Forest Therapy/Shinrin Yoku, it just felt "right" ...I was immediately on the road to find out all I could! What I found out was that scientific data backed up everything my friends and I were feeling on our meanders through the redwoods!
I knew I wanted to share this experience with visitors to our beautiful area, as well as local residents and I set out to become certified!
I enrolled in a 5-month Shinrin Yoku Level 1 Guide training with the marvelous Milena Guziak and THE MINDFUL TOURIST. After I was certified, I was reading additional literature on Forest Bathing and came across Healing Trees: A Pocket Guide to Forest Bathing by Ben Page. I knew that I wanted to continue my education and enrolled in the 6-month Forest Therapy Guide Certification through the ASSOCIATION OF NATURE AND FOREST THERAPY. I was lucky enough to have Ben Page and Jackie Kuang as my trainers and was certified in February of this year.