A couple of weeks ago I attended a workshop run by Rafe Kelley, whose company is called Evolve Move Play (check him out HERE). He's an amazing movement coach whose background is a medley of gymnastics, martial arts and Parkour. It's this fusion of different disciplines that gives Rafe such a depth of knowledge in his coaching and it was a real privilliage to learn from him.
Like us at Uber Wellbeing, Rafe looks at the great outdoors as a place where we can really express ourselves physically and emotionally, whilst experiencing the joy of being in the present moment.
His philosophy of using the natural environment as an opportunity to bring life to our movement practice really resonated with us when we were climbing trees. Here, we were encouraged to allow our imaginations to open up and see how we could move our bodies in different and novel ways to negotiate obstacles and challenges that the tree provided for us.
After a short time climbing in the branches, I noticed my senses were really fired up. Colours seemed brighter, sounds were crisper and my focus was razor sharp. This seemed a shared experience amongst the group, we discussed the idea that having to really concentrate on what we were doing encouraged sensory stimulation. Alongside this, there was a mental workout in overcoming our feelings of fear and pushing through adversity.
Another interesting theory suggested was that one of the many essential roles that trees provide is to pull in carbon dioxide and then release oxygen back out into the atmosphere. Being in such close proximity to this process for a length of time can benefit our bodies right down to cellular level by increasing red blood cell production . This could also explain why a walk in the woods always makes us feel better both in body and mind as are bodies are engulfed in an oxygen rich environment.
So, after a weekend of swinging in trees, I would like to say that I became as proficient as Rafe but sadly it was not the case! However it did reaffirm my belief that if we open our eyes just a little then nature becomes a giant exciting playground to explore.
Here's Rafe demonstrating what the human body can do with enough deep practise, focus and attention. Enjoy.