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“We need a revolution; It starts with falling in love with Earth.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
Relax, restore, reconnect…..“ Nature is Medicine ”
This guided nature immersion medicine walk speaks to the ancient human practice of being connected to nature that is reflected in Indigenous Knowledge all over the world. It is also associated with the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku (Forest Bathing). On the walk you will be given instructions, which are referred to as invitations, to assist you in slowing down, relaxing, and finding your own way of being in relationship with nature, the land, and all its inhabitants. It is structured in such a way as to honor all languages, cultures, and ways of connecting to the land and the other than human world. It isn’t so much about knowing the names of the plants, as it is about noticing what plants you feel pulled to. It will be a slow, relaxing walk over uneven terrain. It isn’t so much about covering a lot of ground. It is a combination of walking and sitting in nature for periods of time. It is more about being “here” in the moment, than it is about being “there”. By observing with all of your senses, getting out into the sunlight, fresh air, and into the organic compound released from plants such as terpenes and phytoncides, you may begin to notice things in a way that you may never have noticed them before. The end of each walk ends with the sharing of tea made from native plants foraged in the area, and some healthy snacks. All you need to do is just come and be yourself!
Elena Ríos is an ANFT Certified Nature & Forest Therapy Guide, Interdisciplinary Artist, and proud mother of a First Responder and avid surfer. A Native Californian, she is an indigenous Nahua, Chicana woman with mixed ancestry. Holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute, she is the author and illustrator of Mihtotiancalli – The House of the Dancer. A former wildland firefighter, she worked on such specialized crews as U.S. Forest Service Interagency Hotshots at a time when women were just beginning to do so. She draws inspiration from the stories of her late grandmother, a curandera, who applied her traditional plant medicine wisdom by offering holistic healing and bone setting services in her San Fernando, CA neighborhood. Helping to found and direct traditional circles of learning rooted in Indigenous Knowledge, she has assisted others in building support for Women, Veterans, Active Duty, and First Responders through these ways. At present, she is a CWN employee of the Chumash Fire Dept.
About the Walk
- Covid – 19 safety protocols will be observed
- Group size is limited (10 people) due to Covid-19 safety protocols. Please inquire for current status.
- On the day of the walk, stay home if you have flu-like symptoms.
- Your temperature will be taken upon arrival.
- Wear a face covering/mask. (You will be able to remove it during the times that we are all physically spread out in nature.)
- Keep no less than 6 ft. physical distance from your fellow humans. (Unless you are from the same household.)
What to bring:
- Important medications (bring EpiPen if you are allergic to wasp, hornet, or bee stings)
- Comfortable closed toe walking shoes. (Boots that cover up the ankle are recommended during rattlesnake season in early spring and summer.)
- Layered clothing so you may adjust to weather and/or temperature changes as needed.
- A day pack or bag in which to keep your things.
- A “lightweight folding camping stool” or “sit-upon” that can be easily carried. You will be invited to sit on the ground at times. Some people bring a mat or a towel to sit on, and some don’t bring anything. It is up to you.
- The ground may (or may not) be damp in certain places.
- Insect repellent (seasons change, and opinions vary.)
- A walking stick if you find it helpful. Terrain may be rocky or uneven.
- Sun hat
- Sunscreen (unscented)
- Plan ahead to be on time. Latecomers may find that we have already left.
- Let me know if you are not coming after all.
- Leave your dog at home.
- No smoking
- Avoid wearing strong perfumes. They can interfere with sensory perception of smells in nature.
The Ojai Foundation is committed to making the work accessible, particularly for those who have traditionally faced barriers in accessing such courses. As one part of this, we have a limited amount of needs-based financial aid available for people who identify as black, indigenous, latinx, asian, or other historically marginalized and/or racialized identities. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with inquiries.
Registration for this event is closed.