Myself and Natalie from Lighten the Load first collaborated in August and what a fantastic combo we found! We first met at a Health and Wellness Fair and our stalls being placed opposite each other seem to have been fate. During the day we got thinking as to how we could join forces and our plan was born - we also both had a passion to develop something at the Inverness Botanics which gave us more drive to make this happen!
Our first session together in August was a slight unknown - certainly for me as I had never done Laughter Yoga at that point either, let alone our guests! By the time we broke for a cuppa and cake my sides hurt from laughing and I was looking forward to relaxing in the gardens during my part of the session and others felt them same. We had such a good response we organised another session for Saturday 18 November.
So What Can You Expect?
For our first session, we met at the entrance to the Botanics at 09:30 and after a quick loo stop we headed into the Tropical House with Natalie for our Laughter Yoga - don't be put off my the 'yoga'. This is not a yoga session with mats on the floor, positions and movements - yoga is also about the spiritual and mental side and this is where we focus our time. Natalie guided us through a series of exercises to get us giggling and in some cases crying with laughter. We started with our magical pots of 'laughter cream' and as we rubbed it on we caught each others eyes and soon started to relax into the session. During the 45 minutes we became giggling penguins and shuffled around the floor; we threw our heads back with giant belly laughs and we showed each other various imagined and hilarious things - it really was a fun time and Natalie's enthusiasm and energy really made the session.
Afterwards we took on the important task of refreshments with a hot drink and cake from the onsite cafe, giving us chance to sit outside in the sunshine and properly meet each other and chat before Forest Bathing.
For my part of the session we headed to the 'wilder' area of the Botanics where we could sit in the open and relax on the grass amongst the trees and herb gardens. We start our time with a group meditation, allowing us time to connect with our surroundings and start to reconnect with ourselves. From then on, the session is broken into several 10-15 minute chunks focused on each senses or different elements of the gardens. This allows us time to relax and start to slow 'busy brains' and learn techniques to benefit from nature on a weekly basis. We also finish with some tea and snacks made from the plants around us - this allows us a chance to take some of the land into our bodies and also thank it for supporting us.
If you would like to read more about the science behind Forest Bathing, please check out this blog post.
For our next session we plan to run with same format and depending on the weather have indoor and outdoor spaces on hand. All you need to do is dress for the weather and come along to laugh and relax for a few hours in the beautiful surroundings of the Botanic Gardens. We have really accessible areas of the garden to use, so if you are concerned about the amount of walking or access please do ask for more info.
Please get in touch if you have any questions or concerns. Click here to book your space.
Cath - firstname.lastname@example.org