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Let Nature Be a Container for Health and Healing

Embark on a journey of self-discovery and reconnect with the natural world in a way that uplifts your overall well-being. Embrace the balance of mind, body, and spirit in our Nature Mindfulness Retreat– an enriching experience that lasts far beyond our time together.

A collaboration between the Living Earth School and Nature of Mind-Body, this immersive four-day workshop is for attendees who want to learn and practice science-backed tools to incorporate resetting the mind and body into their everyday lifestyle to better their well-being. Content and approach are found at the intersection of science, nature, and mindfulness.

Nature is part of our identity, we are part of the natural world. Scientific evidence reinforces the substantial benefits that spending time outdoors offers us, including reducing depression, boosting happiness, regulating sleep with our natural cycles, sparking creativity, enhancing spiritual connection, improving energy levels, and so much more. The research has demonstrated that when mindfulness practices are brought into connection with nature, these health benefits multiply exponentially.

Our workshop integrates mindfulness techniques with the great outdoors, providing participants with a multi-sensory present-moment experience. This unique approach allows you to fully embrace each moment, and feel fully alive, present, and engaged in the beauty of nature.

What to expect:

We will have daily gentle therapeutic yoga practices, journal prompts, formal outdoor guided meditations, nature-based mindfulness activities, nature connection activities and games, nature art, daily interactive psychoeducation lectures, and SO much more. This is a base camp retreat with day excursions and camping at the same site each night. We will do short hikes from base camp (~1 mile).

What you will gain:

Participants will walk away from the experience with new tools and techniques to promote inner peace and well-being that are easily accessible and integrated into their everyday lives, including:

  • Sense-Based Nature Connection Activities
  • Reflective Journaling Prompts

  • Therapeutic Yoga Practices

  • Personal Goal Setting

  • Evidence-Based Meditation Techniques

  • Gratitude Practices

  • Foundations of Cognitive Behavioural Theory (CBT)

  • And other techniques to regulate your nervous system

Where you will be:

This retreat takes place at The Living Earth School’s base camp, located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, lush with spring wildflowers, under a canopy of native trees. Participants can choose to camp in a tent, set up a sleeping bag on our outdoor platform, or nestle in a shared yurt. Not comfortable sleeping outdoors? There are plenty of accommodations available nearby in the beautiful area of Afton, VA (we are happy to help you find one to fit your needs). All camping equipment can be rented for free for this event. All meals are vegetarian and included in the cost. (Please note there is a short 5-minute walk uphill to Living Earth School base camp).

Who should register:

This course is open to anyone 18 or older who expresses interest! The lessons, structure, and participation in this course can be enjoyable and benefit all. (Please note there is a short 5-minute walk uphill to Living Earth School base camp).

Financial aid will be available to participants who express an interest.

**If there are any concerns or if we would like further clarification, one of our guides may reach out to you individually prior to to start of the trip. **

Meet your guides

You will be guided by two instructors over the course of our long weekend together. Both instructors are licensed healthcare professionals, trained wilderness guides, and certified yoga instructors who bring their full heart into their work.

Jayme Vance, OTR-L, RYT, WFR, HWC

Jayme is a licensed Occupational Therapist, registered yoga teacher, certified Health and Wellbeing Coach, and experienced outdoor guide. Co-founder of “The Nature of Mind-Body,” an organization that leads transformative retreats blending modern neuroscience, evidence-based practices, nature, yoga, and mindfulness. Jayme also founded and led “Nature and Mindfulness,” a course created within the Contemplative Science Center at the University of Virginia. With over a decade of experience as an occupational therapist, Jayme has worked with diverse groups of individuals, with a specialty in oncology rehab. Combining her passions and perspective on full body health, she recently completed her coaching certification through Duke University’s Integrative Health. She has received specialty training to lead therapeutic and trauma-sensitive yoga practices. As a professional guide, she has worked for various organizations, including women’s specific adventure travel, and wilderness therapy, and has led international expeditions. Positioned at the crossroads of healthcare, mindfulness, and nature, Jayme guides individuals toward a balanced and enriched life.

Stephanie Ray, LCSW, RYT, WFR

Stephanie is a psychotherapist, yoga teacher, and outdoor guide who specializes in the intersection of mental health and nature. She has guided folks in the backcountry for over a decade in both recreational and wilderness therapy expeditions, and continues to “keep her foot in the door”. She’s worked at a yoga and mindfulness group psychotherapy practice and continues to incorporate similar modalities into her current approach to mental health. Stephanie founded, developed, and directed a non-profit wilderness therapy program that supported adopted adolescent girls who experienced significant trauma. She is certified in Poly-Vagal Somatic Therapy and has written a research paper on the neurology and physiology of PTSD and how yoga can help from a scientific stance. Steph has found healing and meaning in her profound and continued awe of nature and finds purpose in guiding others to this connection. Between her career in wilderness therapy, recreational guiding, and personal backpacking trips, she has over 2,000 days of experience in the backcountry.

Testimonials from Past Participants:

“I am actually able to effectively bring my nervous system into better balance through my practiced actions in nature. It is often easy to feel hopeless when you live in a constant state of hypervigilance, but this retreat literally gave me a new lease on life. I have reframed the way I think about my condition, and am finding myself drawn into nature now in ways I never expected. This has re-oriented my life in a profound way that I believe will last for years to come.”

“This was a great experience with great guides. The weekend was full of adventure, smiles, relaxation, reflection, full bellies and more.”

“This was such a great weekend – I really enjoyed the mindfulness meditations. The guides really made it relaxing and effortless. They planned and prepared all of the meals which were fantastic. I would recommend this retreat to anyone!”

“Jayme and Stephanie are amazing instructors and rugged outdoors people. I felt so safe and supported. Their patience and flexibility and ability to pay individual attention to everyone and small details are extraordinary. They walk their talk and are the role models I need in my life. Thank you!”

Details & Registration — Nature Mindfulness Retreat

  • May 9-12, 2024 @ LES Basecamp, Afton

    Workshop begins on Thursday at 4 pm and will finish around 4 pm on Sunday

    Basecamp retreat with camping at the same site each night.

  • Ages: 18+

  • $550 – Financial aid is available for this workshop. Please fill out this form and our staff will be in touch about your request.

    Registration includes all meals (menu will be vegetarian, can accommodate gluten-free) and gear rentals (tent, sleeping pad).

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