Your body responds to nature and is designed to move freely.
Our bodies are constantly interacting with their environment. They respond to the pace of movement around us, the temperature of the air, the clothes we wear. They respond to our thoughts, and our feelings. We innately relax in nature and, at a primal level, understand how to move in it. Even though many of us spend much of our time indoors, the outside world is still our home: where we have existed since the origins of humankind.
Our bodies move more naturally outdoors. Our legs stretch and stride freely. Our bare feet conform and our balance adjusts to the textures of the earth. Our shoulders reach naturally as we climb and scramble. Our eyes focus near and far as they explore everything from the closest details of a leaf to detecting movement on the far horizon.
Sometimes relaxation can feel fleeting and unattainable. How many times do we remind ourselves to “relax”, and then wonder if we actually are? If I were to tell you to “relax your back”, you might drop your shoulders, but what else would you do? How does one relax their back? The simple suggestion “relax your back” can be confusing.
But, if I were to help guide your imagination into how a relaxed back feels, you might find many new ways to unwind.
Let’s try this relaxing visualizaton exercise:
First, picture yourself standing under a gentle waterfall, the water pounding your shoulders. Your mind imagines them dropping away from your ears and softening while your neck lengthens.
Next, bend forward and let the water pound your spine. Your brain signals your spinal muscles to release and your breathing to open your low back.
Stand tall, turn and let the water flow over your chest and pound your pecs. Your chest opens and widens as your breath frees further.
Now, take a step out of the waterfall. The fresh, ozonated air smells wonderful. Breathe the clean air deep into your body. Feel the muscles between your ribs softening as your breathing opens your sides.
There is a deep, turquoise pool of water in front of you. It looks irresistibly refreshing. As you picture yourself plunging into the cool water, you feel your arms reach above your head and your shoulders moving through their full range of motion as you swim.
That’s a relaxed back!
In this exercise, your mind has taken a mini-vacation in an idyllic setting. By the time you have finished this relaxing visualization in nature, you may find yourself with a refreshed perspective, ready to get back to life, moving and feeling more free.