CategoriesEducational Spirituality Tips & Advice

Forest Bathing

In light of the beautiful new Spring energy we now have around us, we thought ‘forest bathing’ would be the ideal topic for this fortnight’s blog. Forest bathing originated in Japan in the 1980’s and is referred to there as ‘shinrin-yoku’ (shinrin meaning forest and yoku meaning bath/bathing). So what is it? Well, it’s the practice of slowing down by fully immersing yourself in nature. We all know that spending time out in nature is good for the soul, but studies into forest bathing have shown how spending two hours ‘mindfully’ in a forest can have immense benefits on our health. If you take a look at the list below you’ll see just how beneficial it is.

  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Lowers the stress hormone cortisol
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Enhances mindfulness
  • Improves mental health, attention and mood
  • Boosts creativity
  • Strengthens immunity
  • Promotes good sleep

As we walk slowly through the forest, seeing, listening, smelling, tasting and touching, we bring our rhythms into step with nature.

Dr Qing Li

How to Forest Bathe

Forest bathing is a fully immersive experience. One that invigorates all your senses and allows you to consciously connect to nature. To get the maximum benefits, it’s important that you switch off from technology. So turning off your phone and popping it in your bag or pocket is a must!

As you walk through the forest, allow your senses to guide you. What can you see? Notice the different colours and shapes around you. What can you hear? Tune into the birdsong, the rustling of leaves and the gentle creak of the branches overhead. What can you feel? Run your hands over the trunks of the trees, leaves and twigs and notice the different textures. What can you smell? It might be the sweetness of the rain, or the earthy smells of the ground, or even the delicate perfume of spring blossoms. Don’t forget to take a break! Find a bench or a fallen tree to sit on, and reflect on how the forest makes you feel. Really notice it in the very core of your being. At this point, taking some long deep breaths, will send a message to your body that it safe. Notice how relaxed this instantly makes you feel. Really embrace the stillness of this moment and you might be surprised by the amount of wildlife you notice whilst you take this time for yourself.

And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.

John Muir

Finally, don’t worry if you don’t have 2 hours to spare, you can start with a time you feel comfortable with and build it up. Remember, anytime spent in nature will have positive benefits. If you aren’t local to a forest or woodland, you can do the same in a park or even your garden. It’s all about taking the time to really connect and experience all nature has to offer.

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