People who visit The Mare and Foal Sanctuary at our Honeysuckle Farm offices or Coombe Park often comment on the special atmosphere here. Some people call it ‘warm and abundant’, others call it ‘enfolding’ and some call it ‘healing’.
They all use different words to describe a felt sense of something that’s hard to describe but which they have all noticed.
Syra tells me that the special atmosphere is to do with the ponies and the care we give. She should know – she’s cared for every pony that’s been in the Sanctuary, having worked from an early age alongside her mother, Rosemary.
For me, being on our farms, seeing the ponies and horses at peace in small herds in the fields, is something that makes me feel more connected to the wonder and energy of life. I make time in my busy schedule to connect in this way and I feel better physically and mentally for it. I would even say this is part of my daily spiritual practice.
I’m not alone. Even though spirituality is a very personal thing, unique to each of us, there’s a clear evidence base for the links between spirituality and health. Research shows there are health benefits to spirituality, regardless of how each person defines spirituality for themselves.
Spirituality reduces stress through being part of a community. It gives meaning to life. Perhaps most importantly it develops the instinct to show care and compassion to others. Here at the Sanctuary, care and compassion are two of our values.
Popular practices that originated in spirituality, such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness, have been proven to have benefits to physical and mental health. These practices are shown to improve heart health, immune and endocrine functioning and pain symptoms. Mental health and emotional resilience are also improved; meditation soothes the brain so your brain gets the same benefits as when you are sleeping.
If you’d like to discover your own best way to connect with the wonder, energy and good things of life – and to boost your health, come along to our new spiritual health programme. It’s grounded in good science and inspired by the best in spirituality.
All proceeds from the full programme go towards the rescue and rehabilitation of ponies and horses in whose presence these sessions take place
To book Your Spiritual Health programme at The Mare and Foal Sanctuary, including taster sessions.
Full details about Your Spiritual Health programme at https://yourspiritualhealth.org/.
1.Harold G. Koenig: “Religion, Spirituality, and Health: The Research and Clinical Implications”, International Scholarly Research Network Psychiatry Volume 2012, Article ID 278730.
2.Michael E. McCullough and Brian L. B. Willoughby, ‘Religion, SelfRegulation, and Self-Control: Associations, Explanations and Implications’, Psychological Bulletin, January 2009.