As technology accelerates and our hectic modern-day lives keep on keepin’ on, cultivating time and space for self-care becomes ever more essential. The struggle to silence our digital devices and buffer their electromagnetic transmissions is real.
When we need to slow down and unplug, these practices bring us balance, grounding, calm and clarity. Whether you’ve already dabbled or delved right in, here’s an essential guide to ancient healing wisdom.
Not entirely bathing in the buff in a forest stream, but close. In Japan, forest bathing or Shinrin-yoku is known as the medicine of “taking in the forest atmosphere.” Developed in the 1980s, it’s a relatively new therapy, but forest-dwelling has been around for centuries. We can probably all agree that spending time out in nature has a simple way of replenishing the mind and body.
Forest bathing 101: Find a spot in the forest (or under a tree) that feels calm and peaceful. Sit quietly and start to immerse yourself in the sounds, smells and sights of the surrounding wilderness. Let the forest in through all of your senses. Studies recommend doing this for 2 hours, but heck, why not all day?
Collecting crystals for their healing power is no longer a kooky “out there” practice performed by your hippie neighbour. Crystal therapy has been adopted by celebrities, contemporary jewellers, and parents who swear by amber necklaces for their teething babes.
Some say the origin of crystals dates back to the Egyptians, who incorporated iridescent stones into jewelry and carvings to ward off negative energy. Modern-day crystal healing draws on concepts from Traditional Chinese Medicine and Buddhism that focus on life-energy. Basically, crystals can be ‘infused’ with properties that promote healing and relaxation.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a modern mystic or gemstone junkie, crystals have an allure. Some delightful places you’ll find crystals or their essences include candles, bracelets and even kombucha.
Crystal synergy: rose quartz helps bring peace, solace and love to the heart. Moonstone draws on our intuition. Amethyst supports sobriety and stability. Clear quartz offers clarity and vision.
Literally translating to “universal life energy,” Reiki is a well-known Japanese technique for stress reduction, relaxation and healing. The guiding principle of Reiki is an invisible life-force energy that flows through each of us, and when this energy is high, we are harmonious and well.
Since the results aren’t measurable in a lab, it’s purely based on how you feel after a treatment. Many Reiki enthusiasts swear by this practice for anxiety, tension headaches, digestive imbalance and skin conditions.
Reiki Feels: During a Reiki session, the practitioner will channel life force energy through their hands to you, by either placing their hands directly on or hovering over the affected areas of your body. This “spiritual guidance” allows the Reiki to flow through your energy field and charge it with positive energy.
You may have spotted these twine-wrapped bundles of wood at your local yoga studio. Palo Santo, aka Holy Wood, is a mystical tree that grows in South America and dates back to the Inca era for its spiritual purifying properties. Its distinct scent of pine, mint and lemon is said to raise your vibration in preparation for meditation while enhancing creativity. Similar to White Ceremonial Sage in North America, Palo Santo is known to cleanse and clear out old energy to make way for good vibes only.
Burning ‘the wood’: To cleanse your space and extinguish negative energy, ignite the end of your Palo Santo smudge stick. Let the wood burn for a solid minute, then gently wave your stick through the air or place it in a fire-safe dish. Embrace a restored peace and presence in your space.
Word to the wise: when scoping out your Holy Wood, be sure to look for an ethical wildcrafter that supports the replanting of Palo Santo trees in South America.
For centuries, cultures all over the world have been using sound as a form of therapy. Makes sense, right? Whether it’s a soothing tone, beat, mantra or humming, the simple act of listening to individual sounds and focusing on the breath can do wonders for our health. Tibetan singing bowls, for instance, can evoke deep relaxation, chakra balancing, pain relief, emotional clarity and stillness.
Being open to these practices could lead to a state of mind you want to be in like, all the time. Or at the very least, you might discover a deepened sense of presence and well-being. Life goals ?
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