Visitors to the National Show held from 16-18 June at Roche Caiman were taken aback to see the Nature Seychelles' Chief Executive with his palms down flat on the ground, knees bended and feet up while balancing on his hands. What is this nature organization up to? they must have wondered.
Dr. Nirmal Shah and others were in fact following a yoga taster session organized by the organization's Green Health coordinator for show attendees. The pose he was in is called the Crow. Apart from strengthening the shoulders, arms it also benefits the wrists especially for people who spend a lot of time on the computer.
It also improves concentration and provides a sense of calm, says Robin Hanson the Nature Seychelles' Green Health Coordinator who was leading the session. Green Exercise is part of a medley of activities Robin is coordinating as part of a programme that Nature Seychelles is offering that uses nature to improve people's well-being. The taster session generated a lot of interest with a number of people signing up for classes.
A banner propped next to the exercise explained the programme to the public. Started a couple of years back the programme uses nature to benefit people through health and fitness in nature.
A diverse range of classes, workshops and special events are held for participants at the Sanctuary at Roche Caiman just next door to where the National Show was being held. The programme takes participants through a number of physical poses either at the Green Exercise centre or the purpose built outdoor green exercise area, with emphasis on getting healthy through play especially for children.
The programme has involved both adults and children as well as people recovering from substance addictions. Feedback from participants has described increased confidence and self esteem as well as a reduction in anxiety.
Apart from green exercise, the programme provides healthy living tips through demonstrations at the Heritage Garden. The tips include growing organic food, using limited space wisely by building vertical gardens and making your own compost while recycling items normally destined for the landfill.
All these were exhibited at the Green Health section of Nature Seychelles' marquee at the show. A super compost made from sea-weed, fallen leaves, cardboard and manure drew a lot of attention.
The organization also showcased its new innovative projects such as the project to restore corals that were bleached by climate change, its participation in sustainable tourism particularly making Cousin Island Special Reserve carbon neutral , its participation in the Blue Economy through various projects and its more than 15-year old track record in biodiversity conservation.