Need something more out of your yoga classes and meditations? You should try foresting bathing. This Japanese mindful practice is encouraging people to step outside and enjoy nature without any distractions from your phone or other devices.
This peaceful and reflective time under tree canopies or in your favourite garden might be just what you need to unwind and centre your wellbeing.
What Is It?
Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, was originated in Japan and is a form of therapy that involves using your senses to take in nature and its atmosphere. This physiological and psychological practice incorporates both the mind and the body, helping you slow down in order to connect with nature and yourself.
It differs from a simple walk in the forest as it engages your mind. It’s a conscious practice that incorporates the elements of meditation.
Why Should You Try It?
Forest bathing has many benefits for both your physical and mental health. By getting away from the routines of everyday life and leaving all other distractions behind, it can ease stress and worry, helping you relax and think more clearly. This healing time in nature among the scent of trees and experiencing the sunlight in fresh clean air is just what you may need to detox from your phone and improve your wellbeing.
Forest bathing can also give you energy, restoring your mood with its rejuvenating powers. For its physical benefits, forest bathing has been proven to lower blood pressure and heart rate and boost the immune system.
How To Do It?
There’s no one way to practice forest bathing, it’s about doing what works for you and choosing a place you feel connected to where you can unplug from your devices and connect with nature.
In order to receive the benefits from forest bathing you need to engage your five senses. Use your sight to marvel at the beauty of nature, listen to the birds singing, taste the freshness in the air, inhale the scent of the trees and let your hands feel everything you are experiencing.
Remember this is not exercise, it is different from a hike or a run, it’s about being in nature to witness its rejuvenating powers. For forest bathing, try walking aimlessly. So much of our lives has involved following a direction and walking somewhere with a purpose. But for forest bathing there is no destination, only the journey of being in nature. Let your senses guide you by disengaging your mind.
Once you have wandered through your chosen forest, garden or outside space, sit down. Find somewhere comfortable and practice stillness, this is another way to engage your senses while basking in nature and letting it surround you.
When you have reached the end of your forest bath, make sure to give back as you have just gained so much from nature. You can achieve this by acknowledging the forest for all it has provided to you, say thank you and feel your gratitude.