14 Aug Hearty Hugs
Are you continuing to spend more time in the arms of mother nature?
If you are fortunate enough to have a garden or balcony to tend to, or access to a local park, then you’ve probably found some peace and nourishment in the green outdoors during these times of isolation. You have been given a chance to rest in the wild. Less traffic invites your ears to awaken to the sound of the dawn chorus, while spacious woodlands and open hillsides have felt like the only places it’s been easy to inhabit.
As we cannot hug each other, this calls for other ways to fulfill the natural desire for human contact. In my yoga classes I’ve been conscious of bringing awareness to touch, through something as simple as inviting students to move their hands up and down their legs in a forward fold to exploring simple self massage and accupressure points. Along with forest bathing and grounding, I have also been engaging with tree-hugging to help remedy the onging skin hunger.
Tree Hugging- it’s a thing!
Humans from around the world have starjumped onto this barky-loving board of tree-fection. In Iceland the forestry commission cleared snow-covered paths to give locals access to trees while socially distancing. And here in Reading UK, a Tree-Huggers Facebook Group set up by Jim Tubbs-Galley, has formed a global community to share their trunk-hugging pics in amusing tree-ppreciation.
When I first shared the idea of hugging trees during the pandemic lots of people shied away from the idea:
“It’s too embarrassing”
“I’m not doing that!”
In our culture, there is a blatent resistance to this simple, harmless and tender gesture, which feels sad because it has honestly helped so many people during this period. Where is this tree-hugging shame actually coming from? Is it the act of hugging? Or simply being seen to hug a tree? If it feels out of your comfort zone ask yourself where you stand with those perceived zones during this period of change. Are they serving you? Might this be a chance to embrace a new nature-loving you?
There’s science behind this too. Did you know trees release phytoncides which help to lower stress hormones and optimise the immune system? Let’s not deny ourselves some of the gifts of this exchange.
Finally- hugging trees is now an act of solidarity with our local wildlife and community. Here’s why…
Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trusts (BBOWT) are struggling as a result the pandemic; a loss of members, employees being furloughed & more recently, shocking levels of ASB activity on their reserves. In May, I launched an initative through ELF to support them- and it’s one that involves TREE-RIFIC hugs. Here’s how you can get involved in our Tree Hugathon:
- Hug a tree
- Donate £3 to BBOWT
- Nominate 3 (tag your friends)
With the greatest of thanks to everyone who has supported this campagin so far, we are still only halfway to meeting our target of £300. There have been a lot of fundraisers in response to COVID-19 and so this probably hasn’t been viewed with the same urgency. Although it may not seem directly related to the pandemic’s impact, it very much is. It all is, really. Visit the campaign here for more details.
So whether you’re tree-phobic or not, please do consider supporting/donating to the trusts. This is a way of thanking nature (and those who help preserve it), for all the calm and perspective that flora and fauna are bringing to you in these uncertain times. You don’t have to take a picture of your tree and send it to us (although we’d love it if you did!). You can do it when nobody is watching and anonymously donate… it can be your little tree-cret.