Program Title: Barefoot Beach Walk
Details: Participants walk along the beach barefoot. They are encouraged to pay attention to the sensory qualities of their present experiences. This may include the sand underfoot, the temperature of the air or water, the breeze off the water, the smell of salt, the sound of gulls, and so on. Being barefoot alters the experience as suddenly participants must also pay attention to where their feet go (less so on sandier beaches though) as it is important to watch out for rocks, glass, or urchins.
Benefits: Participants would likely appreciate the relaxing environment while walking alongside the water. There are the obvious physical benefits of walking outdoors (fitness, fresh air, sunshine) but social, cognitive, and spiritual benefits could also be a part of this program. Cognitively, nature contact improves mood, attention span, and reduces stress (to name a few). The beach setting might also provide an open setting that encourages social interactions between participants. Such types of benefits are more difficult to quantify. ‘Spiritual’ benefits may include a range of benefits from time to think, closeness to nature, calmness (akin to walking meditation), and help coping with life issues or transitions.
Duration: The walk can vary from a half hour (which I’d recommend as a minimum) to a full, 3 to 4 hour, afternoon. In the latter case I’d also consider leading group discussions/talks and two or three other “micro-programs” to use the time productively.