I discovered a wonderful lady called Ruth Steggles last November, when I saw her talk at Ignite Cardiff. Ruth is ‘The Fresh Air Coach’; she coaches people in the open air, whatever the weather, which is a concept I absolutely love.
I always feel better after going for a walk so I completely buy into the idea that being out in the fresh air can create the perfect environment for coaching and facilitating change. Ruth always insists, ” I don’t believe there is any such thing as the wrong weather, only the wrong clothing” which has completely changed my attitude towards going out for a walk in the pouring rain!
Ruth has just launched ‘Fresh Air for Happiness’, which is a 12 week course designed to help the listener achieve happiness, through listening to podcast sessions whilst walking outdoors. The podcast emulates an outdoors coaching session with Ruth – the idea is that you listen to each topic several times whilst going for a walk, whatever the weather.
I’ve subscribed to Fresh Air for Happiness and I’m reviewing it for Ruth as I go along, to provide feedback and also to document how the course is making me feel. Here’s the review I wrote of the first session:
The topic for week 1 is ‘Being Present’ and I first listened to this podcast whilst walking through Bute Park during my work lunch break, which was actually the first time I’d ever listened to a podcast so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was the school half-term holidays and there were lots of families around me, so I felt quite self-conscious but during the introduction Ruth’s warm manner put me at ease and I was able to focus on what she was saying.
There are some lovely exercises throughout the session to encourage mindfulness and provide tools to keep the listener present and appreciative of their surroundings; I genuinely felt joyful doing them. The podcast finishes with a relaxation exercise which literally melts stress away – immediately afterwards I felt as if I’d had a massage or been to a relaxing yoga class and this feeling lasted for hours. The session took around 30 minutes but it can be longer or shorter because there are instances where you pause the podcast to continue walking and following Ruth’s instructions – the listener can determine the length of these pauses.
I listened to the session three more times over the following fortnight and the changes I’ve noticed are that I’m gradually appreciating my surroundings more when I’m outdoors, and that I’m able to bring myself to the present more easily. I feel ready to move onto week 2. I feel grateful that I’ve made this decision to invest time in myself and gain the benefits of being outdoors more.
I’m currently listening to week five and I’m enjoying the course immensely. I’ve mainly been listening to it in and around Cefn Onn on weekends, or Bute Park if it’s during the week on my lunch break. I feel blessed to have these beautiful places in Cardiff to explore as I listen.
I’m dying to write more about this and the changes I’ve experienced as I’ve progressed through each week – maybe I’ll blog about it again after I’ve finished the A to Z Challenge. If you’re in a place where you’d like to make some changes and you like the idea of outdoor coaching, I strongly recommend that you visit Ruth’s website and check out the Fresh Air for Happiness course yourself.