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The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission

Health and Wellness

A woman sitting next to a pond
adult yoga pose in the Brookside Gardens' Perennial Garden

General Programming

Brookside Gardens offers a variety of Health & Wellness programs for adults, including:

  • Weekly yoga and tai-chi classes designed to strengthen muscles, improve balance, and increase flexibility
  • Half-day mindfulness retreats
  • Shinrin-yoku (Japanese “forest bathing”) to help with stress reduction
  • Guided mindfulness walks with integrative therapist Tania Lanning to help you connect with your inner self and with the natural world around you

To learn more and to register online, please visit the online Cultivate magazine.

Garden Mindfulness at Home

You may have seen the “Garden Mindfulness” signs along the Heart Smart Trail in the Gude Garden reminding you to pause and tune into the present moment. Use this PDF document as a guide to practice mindful awareness(pdf) in your own backyard or local park!

Strolls for Well-Being at Brookside Gardens

“I feel brighter and lighter.” —Participant, spring 2022

Strolls for Well-Being is an evidence-based program that promotes emotional healing through connection to nature. Drawing on psychological principles such as mindfulness as well as practices like forest bathing, this 8-week program is a balm for anyone struggling with difficult questions, suffering from stress or trauma, or seeking greater peace and fulfillment.

Strolls for Well-Being Program

Over the course of 8 weeks, participants:

  • Participate in a facilitated group meeting, where they receive an introduction to the program as well as the beautiful full-color, 110-page guided journal that will guide them on their emotional journey (journals are available in English or Spanish);
  • Complete 12 walks individually in various areas of Brookside Gardens, with their journal and on their own schedule. Each stroll has its own theme, reflected in the journal with readings and writing prompts;
  • Meet again with their group at the middle and end of the program to share insights and learn about others’ experiences;
  • Finish the program with a sense of renewal and an appreciation for the healing power of nature!

Strolling Benefits

Survey data using the PANAS and PGIS scales shows that participants in the Strolls for Well-Being at Brookside Gardens finish the program with:

  • More positive emotions and fewer negative emotions than before
  • Increased motivation to grow and change in their lives.

How to Enroll in Strolls for Well-Being

Enrollment for spring 2024 is now open! Visit ActiveMONTGOMERY to register.

Collaboration & Sponsorships

If you are a therapist, health care provider, or organization working to address health outcomes and disparities, and you are interested in offering the Strolls for Well-Being to your clients or employees, Brookside Gardens would like to collaborate with you! Please contact Ellen.Bennett@montgomeryparks.org for more information. Similarly, Brookside Gardens is open to sponsorships to make its programming more accessible to underserved populations.

Frequently Asked Questions