Nature Heals

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From the desk of Dr Nandita Shah

22 years ago, I moved from Mumbai to Auroville; where I live now. I think this was the best move of my life. I live amidst nature with a canopy of trees around my house. I don’t need curtains because of this and I have lots of windows so the feeling of being in my house is like being in nature. With the ocean nearby, the air is almost always fresh. I wake up to the sound of birds chirping. There is life all around with the birds, squirrels, little insects and other animals; I love it. It’s relaxing to be at home.

Like everywhere, Auroville is fast urbanising. When I first moved here, the plot behind us was empty and there were plenty of trees and nature, but now there is a huge building. Slowly but surely the sounds of the fishing motor boats are infiltrating. The nights were dark and you could see all the stars  in the silence of the night. The full moon days were amazing. Now there is light pollution since many have their lights on all night, and there are more LED lights that are very bright. 

When I go to cities I think I am very lucky to live in nature. The busy roads and people, the concrete jungles automatically create a less relaxing atmosphere. If you haven’t experienced living in nature, do plan it for your next holiday. 

Since we have found that being in Nature is extremely healing we will now be having regular retreats in Nature that you can avail of, so that you, too, can experience the magic. These will be at different places and have been arranged to suit different needs. Our next one is at Lilac Farm. Check it out.


Nature has a soothing and calming effect on my nerves.

Every year, our SHARAN team takes a trip to Nature. This year we visited the Hidden Oasis near Pune and did activities like trekking, swimming in the lake, walking on barefoot on the soil, forest bathing, harvesting and more. Dr Suman Govil from our team shares her experience of being in nature.

Nature is so generous and gives unconditionally. Whenever I get to outdoor spaces, forests, hill stations, I experience the enormity and abundance of nature. I also feel very nostalgic as it takes me back to my student days and botany excursion trips. It instantly uplifts my mood, my energy levels increase and I  feel so fresh and rejuvenated. Nature has a soothing and calming effect on my nerves. 

Cool and fresh breeze, sunlight coming filtered through the canopy of trees, rustling sound of leaves, chirping of birds, squirrels jumping from one branch to another;  transports me to a feeling of fullness, utmost joy and overall happiness. 

I can literally communicate with the plants.  When I look at 3-4 storeyed forests and see trees, birds and animals sharing the same space, water, air, sunlight  and coexisting happily; the mad rush of the human race to possess things makes me feel very small and I wish I never ever have to come back to experience the stressful life in urban cities. 

Exposure to nature works like an antidote for stress and it is high time that we realise the importance of staying connected with nature and try to spend at least two hours outdoors every day for our physical, emotional and mental health.

Raw Banana Stem Salad

Try out this interesting salad recipe. You may be surprised at how delicious raw banana stem can taste! Apart from usual salad ingredients, try to include one new nature’s offering every week in your meals.


  • 26” pc banana stem, chopped (soak in water post chopping)
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 medium-sized onion, chopped
  • ½ a green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1” pc ginger (or to taste), grated
  • Chaat masala to taste
  • Unrefined salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh coriander and mint leaves, for the garnish


Drain and rinse the banana stem. Place in a mixing bowl and add the tomatoes, onions, green chilli and grated ginger. Sprinkle chaat masala over the salad. Add salt if required. Toss gently. Garnish with coriander and mint leaves. Serve.


Add any other vegetables of choice.

Serves 4

Food For The Mind


If you love Facebook, then join us to be supported on your plant based journey. We are offering two possibilities

1. SHARAN India is SHARAN’s main Facebook page which you can like and follow for getting useful daily updates and news from the plant based health world. You will also get news about the latest SHARAN events, see testimonials, and more.

2. SHARAN’s Vegan Support Group is an open support group to know more about vegan/plant-based lifestyle. Here you can ask questions and share inspiring stories, tips, recipes, etc.

All our doctors and presenters will be here to answer your questions and give you tips. If you have attended our events join this group to be a part of our family.

Please like the main SHARAN page and join the group(s) applicable to you.


Nature is actually the Best Medicine!

The Earth is a living system and human beings are fundamentally interconnected with Earth and with all life. Hence, neither the Earth’s problems nor humanity’s problems can be resolved without taking full account of this interconnection. Nature not only heals, it soothes, restores, rejuvenates and reconnects us to what our essential being is.

It is interesting to note a new branch called Eco-psychology. It studies how immersion in nature benefits one’s health and has found that 2 hours of a nature dose per week is enough for people to stay healthy and experience a strong sense of well-being! That’s how powerful Nature is! Read on to find out what you can do in your day to day life, practically, to be connected to Nature :

1. Go for a walk or a jog

Choose a nearby park or the beach and go at least three times a week for a walk, jog and eventually a run.

2. Have plants at home

Having indoor plants or maintaining a garden does a lot for your health. If you don’t have a green thumb, hire a gardener; but just do it!

3. Eat what Nature gives

Consuming natural and organic foods from Mother Nature like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds have been found not only to enhance health but also reverse diseases.

4. Sun-gaze

The sun’s energy vitalizes; soak in it, every single day. Either from home or the building terrace or the nearby park. It’s essential. (Do not ever gaze directly into the full sun with the eyes open, as this can damage the eyes)

5. Plan Nature holidays

Camping, a resort in nature or an organic farm are amazing places to enjoy a holiday.

6. Hug a tree

It is an experience that you need to experience.

7. Understand Nature

Everyone acts according to their own nature. Take time to understand your own nature and other’s natures.

8. Live according to Nature

Nature is abundant and only gives. Nature is systematic and cyclical. When we live in accordance with nature; we will be as calm, bright and abundant as nature. 

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This newsletter was compiled by SHARAN Head of Mumbai, Reyna K Rupani, She facilitates the Six Weeks to Health Gain & Weight Loss program and also conducts health talks for schools, groups, corporates and more.

Edited by Deepa Ballal, a freelance writer based in Dubai.

Sanctuary for Health and Re-connection to Animals and Nature (SHARAN) is a social enterprise with the goal of spreading awareness about holistic health and an ecologically sustainable compassionate lifestyle.
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