Have you heard of EcoNIDRA™ ?
I hadn’t. That was until one afternoon when I was scrolling through my Instagram and I came across Amanda Bond’s Wildedgewalker page. She posted an announcement that she had recently become an EcoNIDRA™ Teacher.
What is EcoNIDRA™?
EcoNIDRA™ is a combination of Yoga Nidra and nature connection practices. What this means is that it “is a blend of extremely deep relaxation with practices deepening our connection with the planet, with our closest nature, and our inner nature.”(2) Kat Novotna, a certified Yoga Nidra teacher and ANFT certified Forest Therapy Guide, launched this new practice in 2020.
Novotna explains that after her diagnosis with Lyme disease, she needed to find a way to support her own healing.
“As a Forest Therapy guide and trainer who has remembered and cultivated deep nature connection and respect for all nature including my own body, I knew the way for me to go was by stimulating my own immune system to allow the body to heal. The best way to do it would be to go into my beloved forest and let the phytoncides do their work”(3)
Novotna then recalled her previous experience with Yoga Nidra practices and how rejuvenating those were for her. This realization sparked a journey of research and study that led to the creation of EcoNIDRA™ .
Now, with a basic understanding of EcoNIDRA™, I reached out to Amanda to learn about her experience and what brought her to this emerging practice.
NW-What got you interested in this practice?
Bond -Having trained in mindfulness based psychotherapy and chosen not to accredit in the model, as I was not able to include nature in the therapeutic relationship, I have spent the last few years since graduating with MA refocusing and developing awareness of nature connection/connectedness.
NW– How did you connect with EcoNIDRA™
Bond– In 2018, I [completed] two separate programmes enabling me to guide Forest Therapy walks and facilitate ‘Reclaiming the Wild Soul’ and ‘A Wild Soul Woman’ workshops, retreats and seminars.
I met the founder of EcoNIDRA™ through the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides & Programs, whilst supporting the growth of the guide community in Europe. . . . When Kat contacted me about the inaugural training in EcoNIDRA™ I felt immediately drawn to it – in particular offering this as an online practice. It is deeply relaxing and restorative.
NW- When did you get certified and what was that experience like for you?
Bond– I was one of the pilot cohort, being certified in June, 2021. Having said yes intuitively when Kat extended the invitation, I found the training really comprehensive. Some of the resources and teachings provided . . . unexpectedly brought about many resonances with my earlier training in Craniosacral Biodynamics. This was a pleasant surprise and allowed me to go deeper with the practice.
NW- What is one thing that you would like others to know about this practice?
Bond- It is an enriching experience, bringing greater depth and understanding of the origins of an ancient practice – with a contemporary twist, embracing nature-based solutions to health and wellbeing.
I also want to emphasize how nurturing becoming an EcoNIDRA™ Teacher has been to me personally. Like Kat, I have experienced chronic fatigue, but over several decades! All of my professional training over the years has come about through a deep need for healing the root causes of CFS/ME and CPTSD. I only share the things that I have experienced and know that work! . . .I believe that EcoNIDRA™ can be an effective, nourishing resource for those experiencing what is being called “long covid.”
What happens in an EcoNIDRA experience?
The Online Experience
The “ EcoNIDRA™ Self-Care Experience, Small” found on the EcoNIDRA™ website is a 50-minute session recorded by Kat where the participant will be “guided on a series of journeys through your senses, body and the Earth. With a series of nature-based visualizations, a technique called Rotation of Consciousness and professionally recorded and mixed nature soundscapes, your mind, emotions and body are relax[ed] in a profoundly deep way, allowing your body-mind to process and heal.” (2) This Experience also includes a “Reflection and Integration module” with journaling prompts, and tips to deepen your practice.
There is also a “Self-Care Experience, XLarge” that gives you 10-weeks of guided EcoNIDRA sessions with an expanded set of journaling and integration prompts.
These online courses range in cost from $36.00 -$212.00 and can be done in the comfort of your own home. You just need a place to lie down and 1 hour of time. It is suggested that you have earbuds for a more immersive experience.
The Offline Experience
There are currently 10 certified EcoNIDRA™ teachers worldwide who are open to working with organizations or individuals. If you are interested in an offline experience, contact one of the certified EcoNIDRA™ teachers to find out more about that process.
The next step in my research is to participate in an EcoNIDRA™ session. I have done several Yoga Nidra sessions before and I am aware of their potential to heal. I also participate in forest bathing walks on a somewhat regular basis and enjoy that process. So I am very interested to see how these two come together in this practice. I am looking forward to trying this out soon and will make sure I share my experience.
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