SAN FRANCISCO, May 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Few women are aware of the emotional, physical, and spiritual benefits of spending time in nature, away from the bustle of their day-to-day lives.

Yet nature can be the perfect tonic for what ails women today.

Spending time in nature and wilderness has proven therapeutic and restorative benefits, especially for women, according to a study disseminated by Awen Grove, an international organization that bridges the connection between people and nature. (www.awengrove.org).

It's been estimated the average person spends no more than one hour a week out of doors, and rising levels of stress and ill health have been linked to Nature Deficit Disorder.

Time spent in wilderness can be a catalyst for exploring personal fears, facing challenges, and decreasing or eliminating self- or culturally imposed limitations. This has been documented as especially important in societies where the pressures on women to do all things perfectly as mothers and professional women, can be too great.

Many women feel that they put their own interests after other people, like family members and professional colleagues, and never spend the time needed to discover or express their own unique talents and gifts.

Nature can provide women a foundation from which they can regain their sense of identity, while also providing spiritual peace, feelings of connection, and empowerment, says Catriona MacGregor, Vision & Nature Quest leader and co-author of "Healing the Heart of the World", (www.naturalpathfinder.com).

According to Laura Tierney, a recent Vision Quest participant who spent four days and nights in the wilderness with a Guide, "I discovered a reservoir of inner strength, clarity and fearlessness that I can now easily access in my day-to-day life."

Some women feel at home in nature and have extensive wilderness experiences, yet some women may feel insecure outdoors due to lack of experience, MacGregor says.

There are programs and guides that provide a safe environment for women unaccustomed to wilderness experiences. Yet, an element of facing fears, real or imagined can be an important part of such an experience.

"Essentially, being in wilderness brings about a greater sense of individuality, bravery, and connection to one's inner voice," MacGregor says. "This then opens the doorway for the creation of new thinking and new ways of being."

Vision Quest leaders and nature guides like MacGregor, bring people into nature not only to benefit people, but to benefit nature.

"When people live more fully integrated with nature, they suffer less stress and ill health, their culture is richer, and ultimately their appreciation and caretaking of the earth is stronger," MacGregor says.

MacGregor provides group quests and also solo nature quests for adults, families and youth. Nature based outings range from 1/2 a day to one week, Quests and nature-based outings can be custom-designed to meet time and location requests.

For more information about upcoming group vision & nature quests, visit www.naturalpathfinder.com.

SOURCE Awen Grove

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