1 April 2020

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During this strange and difficult time of the COVID–19 pandemic, we are having to adapt to new ways of living and working.  Many of us are working from home for the first time, others find themselves working on the frontline delivering essential services to society, and some are unable to work at all during the pandemic.

A view from below of a tree in leaf, with blue sky behind. To help members of the Emma community during this time, author, workshop facilitator & founder of Mindfulness of Nature, Claire Thompson (2005), will kindly be creating short 5–10 minute mindfulness activities each week for us to slot into our daily routines and improve our wellbeing.  

Claire has recorded a brief introductory video, and this week's first exercise is below. 


Breathing Nature... 

In times of uncertainty, a helpful approach to life can be by taking one moment, one day or one week at a time. 

Our breath is one of our simplest anchors to the present moment — and also an accessible connection to our sense of belonging in nature. This belonging can be very supportive in times of social distancing and isolation. Why not try this simple exercise once a day this week?

Step outside (into your garden, your doorstep, open a window) and bring your attention to your breathing. Where do you feel the air coming in and out of your body? Feel into the direct physical sensations involved in breathing in and out — as if you were noticing your breath for the first time.  Allow your breath to breathe itself, there's no need to control it. Just be curious about your experience of this natural phenomenon we call "breathing".  Is your mind wandering? That's normal, it's what our minds do all the time. It's what they've evolved to do, to keep us safe. When you notice this, it's okay, just kindly bring your attention back to your breathing.  As you breathe in the fresh air from the natural world, remind yourself that trees release the oxygen we inhale and absorb the carbon dioxide we exhale. As we breathe in and out, we're borrowing air before returning it to nature. We share this air with each other and with the rest of the natural world — as it flows through all living things. Repeat this practice frequently for 5–10 minutes a day throughout your week. How does this make you feel?  

If you'd like to find out more about Claire or expand your practice of mindfulness in nature, join the free "Sit Spot" initiative she has set up for people to connect with nature with others during this challenging time.

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