Enjoy the peace of Wigan park during mindfulness weekend
A mindfulness weekend with yoga, tai chi, walks and other activities is being held at a Wigan beauty spot.
To mark National Mental Health Awareness Week, a series of free events will take place at Haigh Woodland Park this weekend, Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16.
Keith Bergman, Wigan Council’s general manager of destination parks, said: “There is clear evidence linking the natural environment to our positive mental health reducing such things as anxiety and depression. Here at Haigh Woodland Park we intend to encourage this with two days of back to nature-based mindfulness sessions. A weekend of stress–less, peace of mind, relaxation and mental refreshment.
“This is particularly useful given the difficult year that we are all emerging out of and it is particularly pertinent given that the event takes place as part of National Mental Health Awareness Week.”
The weekend will begin with an introduction to tai chi at 8am on Saturday, May 15.
Based in the Walled Garden, it will be a chance for people to do the Chinese martial art which gently and steadily relaxes the body and refreshes the mind.
The session is suitable for people aged 12 and over and of all levels of fitness. No equipment is needed, but participants should wear loose, comfortable clothing they can move in.
Children can then get involved in the weekend, with a tree babies session at 10am. The class will see parents carrying or wearing babies aged six weeks to 12 months and taking part in activities including woodland exploring, forest bathing, nature craft, movement and outdoor sensory, finishing with tea and a chat.
It will be followed at noon by a yoga session for children aged 18 months to five years and their parents. It will include children’s story-based and engaging exercise to encourage mindfulness, relaxation, building strength, balance and confidence. Mats will be provided.
There will be a yoga class for all abilities at 1pm, which will include breath work, a series of standing and balancing poses and relaxation.
A mindful walk will begin at 2pm, with people encouraged to walk in silence and engage their senses in the natural surroundings.
Sue Healey will teach functional breathing techniques at 3.45pm, which can help people feel calmer, leading to improved sleep, reduced sleep apnoea, reduced anxiety and depression.
The day will end with a mindfulness session in the woodland at 5pm, encouraging people to be in the present moment.
Sunday’s activities will begin with sunrise yoga in the Walled Garden at 8am, helping people get moving for the day.
It is suitable for people aged 12 and over and participants should take a mat, blanket and water, as well as wear appropriate clothing for the weather.
There will be a mindful walk at 10am, followed by a mindfulness session for children aged eight and over at noon, where they will take part in a nature-themed, guided visualisation before planting seeds.
Another tree babies session will be held at 2pm, followed by mindfulness in the woodland at 4.30pm.
Coronavirus restrictions mean each activity is limited to 30 people, so places must be booked in advance by calling the park’s visitor centre on 01942 828280.
Throughout the weekend, visitors can also enjoy the peace and serenity of the lower Walled Garden, with its mature trees, open planting and lush lawns. It will be used exclusively for mindfulness from 8am to 4pm, with people invited to enjoy the calm area, relax and even read a book from the garden library.
To find out more about the mindfulness weekend, call the visitor centre or search for Mindfulness Weekend - Haigh Woodland Park on Facebook.
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