This year the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week (10th – 16th May) is Nature and as part of celebrating the world around us we will be exploring wellbeing and mindful techniques in nature. The first in this series is the Nature Labyrinth, Jen Witts, Project Worker at Changes Bristol, spent a morning sharing how to make and the benefits to walking a nature labyrinth.
What is a nature labyrinth?
The nature labyrinth has one path which leads in a circuitous way from the outer edge to the centre, unlike a maze this is not a puzzle and there are no dead-ends. Labyrinths can be used as a space for contemplation, reflection and meditation. They can also be used as a tool for enquiry, which can potentially allow for an opportunity to gather some insight on a question or a particular worry.
“A labyrinth is a metaphor for the inward-outward journey”
In walking consciously through the labyrinth, you may find yourself in a meditative state, having a strong awareness of the environment around you whilst feeling calm and focused – which can allow you to process life’s difficulties. In building a nature labyrinth, this also allows you to have a good understanding of the natural tools around you, as well as having a sense of empowerment, purpose and self esteem through creating a new structure.
Guide to building a labyrinth
Step by step guide in building a labyrinth:
- Gather materials
- Create a cross on the ground
- Add dots and l-shapes
- Join the sections
- Tidy up gaps and decorate (optional)
- Walk the labyrinth with enquiry or reflection
Benefits of a nature labyrinth
A labyrinth is an ancient technique which has been found historically across the globe. They can be created and walked alone or as a group, they can also be decorated using items such as flowers or objects which are important to you. If you aren’t able to build outside, a drawn labyrinth is also beneficial and can be walked slowly with your finger to offer a quiet space for mindfulness.
Labyrinths offer a space to be in the present whilst enjoying nature’s perfect power around you. This technique can be seen as meditation, reflection or enquiry – offering a space and a tool to find new perspectives as well as emptying your mind.