Natural Mindfulness

Nature is the antidote to today’s busy, stressful and increasingly digital world and sometimes we need nothing more than a good walk with like-minded people to bring us into the present moment and reset our physical and emotional wellbeing back to it’s natural healthy state.

Our Natural Mindfulness guided walks are designed to get people outside for some gentle exercise, fresh air, good company and the therapeutic benefits of just ‘being’ in nature. 

All too often our thoughts race away as we rush around from one task or situation to another and we can quickly fall out of sync with the natural steady pace of things. By taking more time to slowly immerse ourselves in nature, observing it’s movement, the ebb and flow of the seasons, the sounds, colours and patterns all around us, we can begin to relax, to breathe more deeply, to notice more and to reconnect with our true authentic selves.

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees” ~ Henry David Threau.

We all experience times of challenge and struggle and despite the profusion of technological advances that surround us, it’s increasingly common for people to feel lonely, disconnected from each other, disconnected from themselves and disconnected from life.

Our Natual Mindfulness walks are designed to help you begin to restore your stillness and balance and gently bring you back into harmony with the world in a way that is easy, gentle and accessible. By sharing these moments with others, we can shift our perspectives and discover new ways to cope with the ups and downs of life that we all experience. By learning from each other, we develop our sense of support and reslience and become better equiped to more peacefully continue along our lifes journey, in our own way, with new found confidence and contentment.

Natural Mindfulness is a practice that’s as old as the hills. Almost three thousands years ago, after achieving enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, Buddha himself taught that mindfulness should be developed in all postures including standing, sitting, lying down and walking. So today, it should come as no surprise to hear that there is an increasing body of modern scientific evidence that proves what we all instinctively know. Mindfully walking in nature is good for us.

Benefits include:

  • Gentle exercise
  • Fresh air
  • Stress reduction
  • Natural anti-depressant
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Peace of mind
  • Companionship
  • Emotional support
  • Improved connections
  • Accelerated recovery
  • Less worry
  • New friendships
  • Better mood
  • Improved mental health
  • Weight loss
  • Self discovery
  • Boosted attention span, creativity, imagination and intuition
  • Clarity, insights and breakthroughs
  • Feel more empowered and reinvigorated

Many people can struggle with formal meditation. It’s not for everyone and, for some, it can be difficult to sit still for long periods and to quieten the mind long enough to experience the many benefits. In Natural Mindfulness we simply walk gently and consciously, alone or with another, to still the mind in the natural environment. We take the time to listen, observe, touch, taste and feel what is naturally all around us so that we can calm the chattering “monkey mind” and connect to the present moment.

By walking mindfully in nature we are able to increase our awareness of what is ever present. With regular practice this heightened state of awareness can become easy to translate into our everyday lives, our relationships and our work. You’ll begin to notice that what used to be seen as mundane activities or chores can become joyful moments of being in the now.

For years, the Japanese have been leading the way on the practise of Natural Mindfulness which they call “Shinrin-yoku” or “forest bathing” and extensive studies of those who regularly practice the technique are found to have “lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rates and lower blood pressure”. The psychological benefits of spending more time in nature demonstrate that those who make the effort are happier, healthier and more creative. Even a 10 minute walk can boost your brain chemistry and lead to an increase in happiness.

But it’s not only our minds that benefit from time spent in nature. Walking can aid weight loss as a one hour hike can burn up to 500 calories whilst being easier on the joints than running. Walking lowers our blood pressure, strenthens our muscles and also boosts our immune systems by way of antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial essential oils called phytoncides that are emitted by plants as a self defense strategy against insects and rotting.  Breathing in phytoncides leads to an increase in natural killer (NK) cells, a type of white blood cell that hunts down and kills tumours and infections.

If you feel that life is flying by, leaving you with little time to appreciate the journey itself, then we encourage you to pause and take some more time for yourself. To slow down, join us for a walk, become more conscious of both your inner and outer worlds, to enjoy the ride for all its ups and downs and the companionship you’ll naturally discover along the way.

Sensitive consideration of others is our only guideline and you are welcome to walk silently or to engage in mindful conversation if you prefer. Our intention for the walks is to provide a secure environment to unwind and relax, away from the pressures of day to day life and to provide a supportive and caring environment in which we can develop meaningful relationships, deeper connections and more cooperative, compassionate communities.
Cotswold Natural Mindfulness

“Learning to be ourselves is the ultimate freedom, but to discover this place, where the lives we live become beautiful expressions of our inner-selves and our hopes and dreams, is not always easy. This is why I created Natural Mindfulness walking.” ~ Ian Banyard (Founder of Natural Mindfulness).

No experience required, just a willingness to deepen your sense of connection with yourself, with others and with nature.

Come and experience the healing power of nature for yourself on one of our many Natural Mindfulness guided walks. Well behaved dogs are very welcome and provide a great asset to the overall experience.

Start times vary and are listed below. Please arrive 10 minutes early as we aim to start each walk with a welcome circle. Each walk generally takes between two and three hours to complete,

Our walks are graded as either ‘Easy’ (shorter and mostly flat) or ‘Moderate’ (longer and may include some slopes). Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear and choose a walk that is suitable to your ability and level of fitness.

Our focus is on slow mindful walking rather than a long distance hike. Distances vary according to the grade of the walk, starting and ending at locations around Shropshire and Wrexham.

Our walks are for adults only and cost £5 per person.

If you intend to walk with us regularly then you may be interested in joining our Natural Mindfulness membership scheme. For a regular subscription of just £10 per month you can walk with us as often as you like. Please rest assured that there is no small print, no binding contract and no catch. You can cancel your membership at any time.

If you are interested in joining us or would like to know more, please contact us.

All guides receive ongoing one to one training and support directly from Ian Banyard, the founder of Natural Mindfulness. We are proud to work in partnership with Cotswold Natural Mindfulness and the growing network of UK Natural Mindfulness groups.

Wednesday 20/06/18 10:00 The Bridge Inn, Chirk Bank, LL14 6RG Moderate: A circular walk up the Ceriog valley to Chirk Castle and back again to the Bridge Inn.
Thursday 21/06/18 12:00 The Poachers Pocket, Chirk Rd, Weston Rhyn, Wrexham LL14 5DL Easy: A circular walk along the towpath of the Llangollen Canal.
Friday 22/06/18 12:00 Monks Bridge carpark, Chirk Bank, LL14 5BY Easy: A linear walk north west along the towpath of the Llangollen Canal crossing the aquaducts to Trevor and back again.
Saturday 23/06/18 11:00 The Poachers Pocket, Chirk Rd, Weston Rhyn, Wrexham LL14 5DL Easy – Moderate: A longer flat walk today going east along the towpath to Hindford and returning via the villages of Rhosygadfa and Rhoswiel.