SHINRIN YOKU: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FOREST BATHING
One of the most amazing things about the time that we're living in is that we can learn all about mindblowing wellness practices around the world. From hygge to ikigai, it's easy to learn how other cultures have learnt to open the mind, relax the soul and energise and reawaken their lives. Some are off-the-wall crazy and perfectly suited to the most open minded of us. Others seem invitingly full of common sense and practical application. Regardless of your appetite for all things wellness there are some that resonate to almost all of us.
Shinrin Yoku: Forest Bathing
So, what's it all about. Close your eyes for a minute. I want you to think about a time that you were standing in an area, surrounded by nature, without another soul around. A walk by the coast. Stroll through wooded lanes. Perhaps just reading on a deserted beach.
What do you remember feeling? Calmness? Tranquility? Freedom? Well, it's that feeling, right there that's Shinrin Yoku. Translated, it basically means 'forest bathing'.
The idea is that giving yourself specific time to be alone, surrounded by trees, you connect back to nature and mother earth. Renewing your appreciation for being part of something much bigger than just yourself. I often think of walks like this as guided meditation, allowing me to reconnect, let go of my busy mind and remember there is something more to life than always going.
This moves me into the second important point. This is no ordinary walk through a forest or hike. You're not there to work up a sweat or quickly get from A to B. This is purely a contemplative stroll through nature so you have the time to be aware of the atmosphere and allow yourself to appreciate the beauty and feelings of gratitude that come from simply walking.
Well, there's the connectedness, calmness, meditative qualities mentioned before. It can also help physically, lower your stress levels and help with mental health. I know that after giving birth to my daughter, I spent a lot of time in nature walking and it did amazing things for me. Mood, energy, sleep, health and helped me recover quicker. It wasn't long before I was inspired and motivated. Upping the fitness also allowed my mind to calm in a crazy time.