Forest Therapy / Forest Bathing
Do you want to escape the chaos of home, work or city life and enter an “Awemazing” World of serene bliss, peace, joy, wonder and adventure?
Yes, you heard that right. It’s not a typo. I said “awemazing” because forest therapy / forest bathing retreats leave me with an abundance of awe-inspiring moments coupled with an amazing feeling of blissful calm.
The peace and connection you experience from a Forest Therapy / Forest Bathing Retreat can create these amazing feelings and moments while boosting your health and most authentic self. So much of our daily lives are immersed in stress, overwhelm and sensory overload that it can be difficult to find the right amount of time to slow down, unwind, relax and just breathe.
Remember what it was like to be a kid in nature, captured in the moment, discovering while your curiosity and creativity bubbled? Remember how the flourishing forest and flowing waterways washed away your worries, sadness, fears and frustrations, and funnelled your attention into the present moment where happiness, love, acceptance, excitement and passion live?
This is the beauty of forest therapy. It creates a heart and body connection, unlike a hike, which builds muscle, or an interpretive walk, which builds intellect. Forest Therapy / Forest Bathing gets you out of the busy-ness inside your head and allows you to be in touch with your heart and body, strengthening your health, intuition and other senses. The forest, as the therapist, guides you towards your most authentic, accepting and beautiful self.
“This was a fabulous retreat with a great balance of forest therapy, yoga, paddle boarding, free time, extravagant meals, and elegant glamping. So much time in nature let me find and be my ‘wild’ self – an escape but with a purpose to get more connected to self. Awesome! Thanks so much Haida. Your joy and passion for this work is contagious and so helpful to people. Keep it going!!” — Sheila
I’ve always felt a connection to Jane Goodall, the woman who lived in the African forests for decades among wild chimpanzees and other wildlife. Fortunately for me, the universe guided our paths to meet in Gombe in February 1991 to observe the chimps together. Jane often states that she carries “the peace of the forest inside” her and that is what keeps her calm and strong when surrounded by chaos or crowds. This inner peace is what I have found in myself when staying regularly connected to the forest.
Like Jane, I have always felt a deep connection to the forest and nature. As a sensitive child I was fully aware of how much calm, happiness, acceptance, inner strength, authenticity and self-love I felt when surrounded by nature. Forests especially, with their big trees, felt like they “hugged” me and welcomed me “home” whenever I entered them. And I still feel this way today.
As a child, I connected to every little thing in the forest: the moss leaflets, the lichen, the leaves, the fungi. In my thirties, as I began working full time in hospitals, I slowly lost this deep connection to the forest until one day I realized how sick I was becoming. I had to leave hospital work and get reconnected to nature work.
I began offering Nature Camps and Forest Parties for children. Wow! How my love bucket overflowed with fulfillment and joy when I saw how enthusiastic and engaged the children were when playing or creating in the forest!
And then I began the most difficult journey through my life. My 15 year relationship with my husband ended. I moved away from my community. I lost my father. I lost my home. Within 16 months I lost so much that meant everything to me. I discovered what grief felt like on a very deep level.
What kept me going was walking almost daily through the forests of my new home on the Sunshine Coast. The trees listened to my tears…listened to my fears…listened to my pain…washed it out with rain…listened to my voice rationalize its choice…it was a poetic journey for sure.
On one occasion I stood on a small wooden bridge facing upstream at a creek, staring…staring…noticing the flow. It felt like I was looking at the past as it rushed towards me. My eyes flooded with loss. Then I turned and noticed the flow downstream. It felt like I was now facing my future as it meandered into the ocean…a great big wide ocean full of possibilities, hopes and dreams, to welcome into my life. Looking upstream had loss, looking downstream had hopes, and standing in the middle where I was…had been grief and now was full of acceptance.
The forest does this. It can mirror our life and transform our anger, frustration, sadness, confusion or grief into acceptance, joy, enthusiasm, peace or clarity. Whatever we need at any given moment, the forest is there to provide, when we give it enough opportunity.
The forest has always been like a magical, natural “drug” for me. I have even taken my issues with other people into nature so we could problem solve more calmly.
Naturally, when I heard that someone had coined a term for this “drug,” I became intrigued and wanted to know more. Richard Louv calls it “Vitamin N.” The Japanese call it “Forest Bathing.” Amos Clifford calls it “Forest Therapy” and created a standardized program to certify Forest Therapy Guides around the world.
Forest Therapy Guiding was to be my next calling in life. I had already spent 30 years connecting children with nature. Now, in my mid-life, my new calling was to connect all ages with nature, especially hard working, and sometimes very stressed, adults; and sometimes people who just want to enjoy the forest in a new way.
With the continued rapid advance of technology, our society is becoming more and more disconnected. We are learning that Vitamin N (Nature) is more important to our well-being than ever before. Forest Therapy is an effective way to get it! Let’s unplug, get outside and connect!
MY PURPOSE & EXPERTISE
My purpose in life is to create a happier and healthier world. I have always been fascinated by what keeps people, animals, plants and ecosystems healthy, alive and functioning at their best, their happiest.
Being healthier helps us be happier. Being happier helps us be healthier.
With this focus in mind, I have accomplished the following:
- British Columbia’s First Certified Forest Therapy Guide (Association of Nature and Forest Therapy)
- Wilderness First Aid Certificate (Red Cross)
- Bachelor of Science (University of British Columbia)
- 30 years connecting children and nature through summer and day camps in British Columbia and East Africa (Uganda), after school programs, forest parties, Roots & Shoots Clubs, and my novel Aida’s Adventures In Africa
- 15 years with Excellence Seminars International as a student of personal growth and as a volunteer assistant giving adults non-judgmental acceptance, attention, empathy and support; holding space for adults to experience whatever they need to experience so they can move forward in life with more excellence
- Independent World Traveller through 30 countries
- Certified Reflexologist (Pacific Institute of Reflexology)
People tell me that I am a great choice as a guide because I have a calm, accepting presence and an ability to slow people down so they can get in touch with themselves. My guidance allows each participant to experience the forest in a way that they are most comfortable and in a way that allows them to feel safe knowing that it is okay to be exactly where they are in life. We are where we are and it is the perfect place to blossom from. I hold space for you to experience whatever you need to in order to blossom into a more authentic, happier and healthier you.
The forest has a way of holding space for us too. The forest seems to mirror whatever we are feeling or experiencing and through this mirror we discover on our own, whatever we need to learn. The forest is a magical place. The more connected we are to it, the more connected we are to our own humanity.
“Had an amazing weekend with Haida on the Sunshine Coast, B.C. Having never experienced a walk in the way Haida lead us, one learns to slow down, breath in the air, touch, feel, hear and just see all around us. Me being an avid hiker, she took me to a new level of experiencing the forest. Her enthusiasm and joy was so contagious. I came home with a new love of nature. Thank you Haida and the lovely people that came with me.” ~ Mary
MY RETREAT EXPERIENCE
I am offering retreats because they have the greatest impact on our health, happiness and connection with our true authentic self. Science demonstrates this, as does my own personal experience.
Scientific studies out of Japan suggest that the more consecutive days of forest therapy, the longer lasting the health benefits such as a boosted immune system and a decrease in stress hormones and blood pressure. For example, a 2 hour forest therapy experience can boost the levels of natural killer cells (a type of white blood cell that attacks cancer cells and other diseases) in the body by up to 40% and they remain elevated for up to a week. Three consecutive days of two hours of forest therapy can boost these cells by 50% and they remain elevated for up to a month.
When I did my Forest Therapy Guide training, I experienced first hand what 7 consecutive days did for my body. It was like being at a 7 day retreat with 3 hours of forest therapy each morning. I will never forget the growing calmness each day; the growing connection; the growing discoveries and curiosities. Each day I felt my body relax and connect deeper with itself and deeper with nature. By the 7th day I could feel the tingly blissful glow deep within every cell of my body. Never would a day in the city do this. Never would a week at the beach do this. But 7 days immersed in the forest connecting with all of my senses each day did do this. I was overcome with a feeling I could only describe as being “zenned out.” It was on that last day of amazing bliss, unlike anything I had ever experienced, that I decided I wanted to give everyone on earth this memory…to feel authentic joy and calm in their deepest cells without any need for recreational or prescription drugs. It was a level of complete love and acceptance of myself, inner peace, inner joy and great health.
The forest was like a “happy pill,” a natural anti-depressant, a natural anti-anxiety pill. What I learned was that each day was like a deeper dose of this happy pill, and that the more I took in, the longer and deeper the effect. You can choose to do a one day forest therapy walk and get maybe “5mg” of this natural drug effect, or you can choose a 2 day retreat and get “10mg.” A 7 day retreat will give you “35mg.” In other words, the more connection with nature, the deeper and longer lasting the connection with your true authentic happier, healthier and calmer self.
“I would totally recommend this retreat for a nice, peaceful weekend. I think it helps you slow down and appreciate the forest and think more clearly.”
My passion is to create a happier and healthier world. I do this by not just offering solo and group forest therapy walks, but also weekend and full week retreats. A 7 day retreat is the ultimate blissful experience… and I understand it is not accessible to everyone, so I also offer weekend retreats.
Yoga is included in each retreat as a second form of relaxation to add variety to the whole wellness experience. More people are familiar with this form. This provides a sense of familiarity while trying something new. It’s about creating balance. Often people say that forest therapy is today where yoga was 30 years ago: a healthy benefit growing slow and strong in our everyday lives.
You may want to experience a forest therapy retreat for a number of reasons:
- CREATE better health, more joy, more inner peace, more self-acceptance and self-love, more acceptance of a situation you are facing, more connection to yourself and nature, meaningful relationships with others, more authenticity.
- INSPIRE creativity, curiosity, solutions, answers.
- DISCOVER the earth’s forests in more detail and create a better connection to the planet, to our home.
RETREATS ON THE SUNSHINE COAST, BC
Plan your custom designed Wellness Retreat on the Sunshine Coast for individuals, couples, families or small groups
You will transform feelings of overwhelm and busyness into a feeling of abundant peace, calmness & connection which will translate into all areas of your life. You will go home more self-loving than when you arrived, sleeping better and feeling refreshed.
- Choose from 4 different accommodation types.
- Book your experience for 1-7 days of Guided Forest Therapy and/or Reflexology to support you with relaxing and rejuvenation.
- Your custom designed Wellness Retreat can include yoga, fly-fishing or mushroom picking.
If you’d like to have your Wellness Retreat custom-designed for you I invite you to contact me to get started.
COSTA RICA RETREAT December 1-7, 2019
- 7 days Sun-Sat
- Chilamate Rainforest Eco-Retreat Centre
- Maximum 12 Participants
- Download more retreat details below
- $2300 CND Early Bird Rate (pay in full by July 2, 2019)
- $2450 CND Regular Rate (pay in full by September 20, 2019)
- $2600 CND Fall Registration Rate (pay in full by November 2, 2019)
A 7 day retreat is the ultimate blissful experience.
Participants transform their feelings of overwhelm and busyness into zen-like feelings of abundant peace, calmness & connection which translates into better health in all areas of their life.
They will go home refreshed, more authentic and self-loving than when they arrived.
Jump to the bottom of this page to signup to our waitlist, complete an application form or book a consult to discuss the retreat options.
You are an amazing soul. You were simply born to be amazing. I know it. You deserve the fullest, richest experience!
I invite you to put your name on the waiting list today to be considered for either of these “Awemazing” Forest Therapy Yoga Wellness Retreats, and to sign up for my monthly newsletter to keep informed of all future retreats, group walks and other events and inspirations.
P.S. Interested in attending but feeling unsure if this is the right experience for you? Request a Clarity Consult to get your questions answered
|JOIN WAITLIST||Click here to join our waitlist to stay updated with all the retreat details|
|APPLICATION||If you are interested in attending, please click here to download the Application Form and return via email|
|CONSULT||If you want to be certain this retreat is the best experience for you I offer complimentary 15 min consults to discuss your fit for this retreat. Complete the form below to book a call and I will contact you to confirm a time for our call.|