Opening Sensory Awareness

Opening and activating our senses to become present and to perceive the world, connect to it from a different place


Sensory awareness offers the benefits of accessing a rarely used channel of perception, it widens the spectrum of awareness. It can enhance the sense of connection to the (natural) environment, the sense of being part of, or belonging to it. Sensory awareness slows and calms us down, inviting a wisdom to surface from a different part of oneself, additionally supporting us to become present.


This exercise was introduced to bridge a theoretical session with the following contemplative walk in a forest where the event took place – a one-day-long outdoor training for a team of a multinational company, aimed at opening up awareness of sustainability and practising wellness. Participants were asked to make themselves comfortable in any position and follow the journey of invitations with their eyes open or closed. During fifteen minutes, they explored the world around them with their senses, guided by various invitations related to:

  • the sense of touch (the breeze on their skin, the clothes touching their bodies),
  • smell and taste (sniffing, deep breaths and breathing through mouth),
  • hearing (loud and quiet sounds, including one’s own breathing as part of the forest soundscape),
  • and the sense of direction (sensing the world turning bit by bit).

On opening their eyes they could experiment with their peripheral vision.



Once participants are familiar with the exercise, it can become a regular part of the training to offer a few minutes for them to open their senses.


If appropriate, participants can be encouraged to keep their sensory awareness awakened during any following session(s) and can be combined with exercises aimed at slowing down.


The guided exercise may work online live if the participants are already connected to the call from a natural environment and there is a strong technical background. It is safer however to record the guided exercise beforehand and send it to the participants so that they can either become familiar with it for the session, or they can listen to the recording during the session and return online afterwards.

Possible traps

One will need to know the target group well enough to offer this in a safe way. It can be scary for some people to close their eyes in front of others or bring awkward and uncomfortable feelings to do this exercise. Better to place it in the training when there is already trust built up in the group. Choose words and length well!

Try it in the dark!

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Inner Pathways
Innovative approaches in learning for Sustainability
Pandora Association Hungary, Budapest, Sasvár utca 99/c.

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