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Naturally Good for You - the incredible benefits of being outside and in-nature

Getting people outside and enjoying being 'in-nature' has always been one of Green Farm's principal objectives, and it forms a huge part of the whole Green Farm experience. Whether you are popping into The Spa, coming for a weekend stay or spending the day at one of the many events and workshops hosted on the estate, guests are always invited to explore the farm, surrounding ancient woodlands and spend time appreciating the great and beautiful outdoors.

But having been an unprecedented year when we've spent more time at home and inside than we ever expected, getting back outdoors has also never been so valuable or vital. And because nature is free we often take for granted the incredible benefits it has to offer, especially those that affect our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Working with several like-minded partners, we've co-created three events that take full advantage of all the amazing rewards being in-nature gives us, body, mind and soul.

BODY - Woodland Workouts, with Jo Willemse

Experience the wonders of outside and in-nature exercise

It is safe to say that over the last year, we have all learnt to appreciate the importance and joy of getting outside, and studies have shown that exercising outdoors and ‘in nature’ has even more incredible physical and mental health benefits.

From reducing your blood pressure and resting heart rate, there is even evidence to suggest that exercise may feel easier when performed outdoors due to the changing surroundings and sensory stimuli. This means you can work harder without feeling so tired, helping to increase the amount of physical activity you can do compared to indoor training. Being in nature also challenges your body to work that little bit harder with an ever-changing outdoor terrain. It has also long been known, that simply being outside can reduce our stress hormone cortisol by as much as 15% and the positive effects of being 'in nature' increase when we combine that with physical exercise. Research published in an Environment, Science and Technology journal suggests that exercising in a natural environment is associated with greater feelings of revitalisation, enjoyment and satisfaction as well as a greater intent to repeat the activity at a later date. When training outdoors, you can also enjoy the benefits of our glorious British sunshine, even if it isn’t the brightest day. Fresh air and natural light invigorate the mind and provide the body lots of lovely and important vitamin D that we need to support healthy immune function, bones, nervous system and many other things. To take advantage of all these wonderful benefits that nature provides, Woodland Workouts have been created to provide a series of unique, nature-inspired training sessions to those looking for an all-over body workout, set in the magical, private woodlands at Green Farm. Combining bodyweight exercises and cardio, whilst utilising the natural terrain and nature's own props, Woodland Workouts are perfect for all fitness levels. The class will be run by Jo, a Level 3 Exercise Referral qualified Personal Trainer, who has always been a strong advocate for outdoor exercise which she thinks is even more important now than ever before. "Working out outside means you are getting a valuable source of Vitamin D to keep your bones and muscles strong and boost your immunity. Using the benefits of natures' stimulation, breathing in the fresh air, feeling the ground beneath your feet and taking in the sights and sounds of the beautiful Green Farm, means that workouts are enjoyable and the environment also boosts your mood."

Woodland Workouts with Jo will run for 60 minutes, followed by a cup of refreshing Ginger or Garden Herb Tea afterwards in the Green Farm Community Garden.

To feel and experience the wonders of a Woodland Workout with Jo, please book here. Spaces are limited to 10 people per class. All equipment is provided.

MIND - Forest Bathing, with Vanessa Nourse

Reconnect with nature and find relief from everyday stresses

We all know how being in nature can make us feel, whether that's when we are surrounded by gorgeous open countryside or a comforting woodland setting. The smell of the trees, the sounds of the birds, the fresh clean air. It is a feeling that is hard to put into words but something so totally joyful and up-lifting.

In a first at Green Farm, we invite you to experience our beautiful and tranquil woodlands and grounds with a Shinrin Yoku 'Forest Bathing' Workshop. Shinrin in Japanese means 'forest,' and yoku means 'bath,' so together shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest's atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses.

Forest Bathing is simply about experiencing nature with all five of your senses and letting yourself be totally immersed in your environment. Using in-nature exercises and activities as you slowly and mindfully walk through the ancient woodlands surrounding Green Farm, helping you reconnect with nature and find relief from everyday stresses and access all the health benefits that nature can provide.

After the workshop, take your place by the campfire and enjoy a delicious bowl of homemade soup and take in all that you have learnt and felt.

This event is run in partnership with Vanessa Nourse, who grew-up in Africa and having spent her early childhood largely outdoors developed a love and respect for nature and the natural environment. Upon moving to the UK, she studied Environmental health and also obtained an MSc in Environmental Impact Assessment, working for a number of years as a senior environmental health officer. However, Vanessa realised that the pressures working in local government were affecting her health and after a period in the health and social care sector, she yearned for an outdoor lifestyle.

Retraining as a gardener, obtaining an RHS qualification in horticulture, and experiencing first-hand the healing benefits of the natural world, Vanessa spent two years as a gardener for English Heritage and it was during this period, she first heard about Shinrin-Yoku, or Forest Bathing. Forest bathing originated in Japan and was designed to combat the stress of urban life by spending time in-nature in order to achieve better health, happiness and a greater sense of calm.

Keen to explore the practise in greater depth, Vanessa successfully completed a Practitioner Training Course and started running sessions at Walmer Castle for English Heritage. She was amazed at the positive feedback including from people who already spent a lot of time outdoors. As a result, she is currently undertaking further study and working towards an International Diploma in Forest Therapy Guiding. Vanessa is passionate about sharing the incredibly healing benefits of the natural environment so that people come to love, respect and in turn protect these precious places.

For more information on the Worksop and to book please click here: Forest Bathing

SOUL - A Spiral Path of Healing, with Alison and Lindsay

Embark on a journey of self discovery and find new meaning in-nature

For centuries, labyrinths have captured the aesthetic and spiritual imagination of many cultures around the world, from Ancient Greece to modern day Pacific Island nations. Typically represented as a spiral pathway or circular portal, the labyrinth has come to be a symbol of wholeness and meaning, achieved through meditation and journeys of self-discovery.

Unlike a maze, in which you could get lost, the labyrinth’s pathway guides you through a meditative journey to the centre of your own being and back out again. It is a sacred space where time slows down and the potential for personal growth and change is awakened within.

‘The Spiral Path of Healing’ at Green Farm, is a labyrinth workshop that will help guide you towards finding new meaning through self-discovery. As your feet trace the pathway towards the centre, you will be drawn deeper into yourself and towards your own meaning. Then as you trace the path back out, you emerge with new-found clarity and connection to your purpose.

With the help of nature and beautiful surrounding ancient woodland, you will be guided throughout the day by Green Farm partners Alison and Lindsay, to deepen your stillness to access the information you are seeking. Walking the labyrinth in nature helps us clear and cleanse the mental chatter and brings balance to the whole body.

With 80 years combined experience, Alison and Lindsay are skilled at helping individuals connect to their core essence and achieve that great awareness. Inner peace, focus and physical change are all possibilities that can also be attained.

Lindsay Thompson has worked as a Creative Arts and Play Therapist for over twenty years in private practices and educational facilities, and runs numerous courses for Leeds Beckett and Christ Church Universities at home and abroad. Her work now mainly focusses around supervision and training as a Senior Supervisor and accredited Therapist. She enjoys working creatively with physical objects and using metaphor and visualisation techniques. Lindsay is interested in all aspects of the mind–body-spirit connection and enjoys accompanying people on their own journeys to well-being. Studying how to use Vibrational Essences within the therapeutic setting is her new passion and she is also trained in EFT, flower essences and Reiki. In her free time Lindsay enjoys creating mosaics, singing and bird watching.

Alison Lingwood is a Chartered Physiotherapist with over 35 years experience in private and national health practices, specialising in persistent pain and health issues. As well as her traditional Western medical training, Alison has has a deep knowledge of alternative and ancient medicinal practices and indigenous healing ideas which she now integrates into her work. She also uses kinesiology, flower essences and intuitive energy healing in her practice and has run courses for over 25 years for physiotherapists and other therapists. Alison’s passion is to help others tap into the universal energy of healing in cooperation with nature’s harmony. In her free time she enjoys spending time playing in nature, swimming with the dolphins and growing and preparing tasty food and herbal creams for her friends and family.

To find out more about the Workshop and to book please go to: Spiral Path of Healing

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