Forest Medicine, Walking sangha

This group is just beginning to form and is arising in response to the growing ecological and political difficulties we are experiencing in our country and in the world.

In this group, we’ll bring together the practice of mindful walking as a sangha with the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku or forest medicine, the science of utilizing our relationship with nature to create wellbeing.

A growing body of literature is now supporting what many of us already know — that there are many measurable and comprehensive health benefits from exposure to nature and green environments. These include decreased stress, inflammation, and cortisol levels, and increased immune function.

Walking meditation is an opportunity to bring the same gentle, focused attention of sitting meditation into movement, something that can be very beneficial for processing stress and difficult emotions.

This is also an opportunity to experience ourselves in relationship with the earth and as “one sangha body,” a phrase used in the Plum Village tradition to indicate that, when we come together to practice, our collective mindfulness creates a great strength.

On the experience — and significance — of bringing mindfulness into our steps, Thich Nhat Hanh writes, “Print on Earth your love and happiness. Earth will be safe when we feel in us enough safety.” This is a profound statement about our interdependent relationship with the natural world.

Details, details:

We meet at the entrance to the Grove of Old Trees in West Sonoma County. Before walking, we’ll share instructions for walking meditation; enjoy a short reading on shinrin-yoku, eco-dharma, or eco-psychology; walk together through the redwoods; and then close with a few quiet words.

Where: 17599 Fitzpatrick Ln, Occidental, CA 95465

Time: 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Cost: There is no cost to join this group

When: To help attune to nature’s rhythms, we walk on (or near) the full moon each month

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Friday, September 13, 2019

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Wednesday, December 11, 2019 from 3:30 PM - 4:30 PM (due to the early sunset this month)

Learn more or let us know you’re attending by contacting us here. Registration is recommended but not required.

We can train ourselves to walk with reverence. Wherever we walk, whether it’s the railway station or the supermarket, we are walking on the earth and so we are in a holy sanctuary. If we remember to walk like that, we can be nourished and find solidity with each step.

To walk in this way, we have to notice each step. Each step made in mindfulness can bring us back to the here and the now. Go slowly. Mindfulness lights our way. We don’t rush. With each breath we may take just one step. We may have run all our life, but now we don’t have to run anymore. This is the time to stop running. To be grounded in the earth is to feel its solidity with each step and know that we are right where we are supposed to be.
— Thich Nhat Hanh