Forest Bathing

Forest Therapy, also known as “Shinrin-Yoku,” refers to the practice of spending time in forested areas for the purpose of enhancing health, wellness, and happiness.  The practice follows the general principle that it is beneficial to spend time bathing in the atmosphere of the forest. The Japanese words translate into English as “Forest Bathing.” [source]


Time Required:

minimum of 10 minutes (though I kept going once I started!)
You’ll need:

A Forest location
Good walking shoes
Water
Body Position:
Walking, Standing
Listen to the podcast episode on Apple PodcastsSpotify,  Anchor
or other main platforms

Steps:

  1. Find a forest location.  It does not need to be an exotic location-  just one where the trees have been allowed to grow.  If you need help finding a location, you can search online for an arboretum, conservation land, or a state or national park.  
  2. Walk to somewhere where you feel surrounded by trees. Look up at the tree tops.  Take a few deep breaths and let them fill your lungs.
  3. Keep your eyes open, but somewhat loose in your gaze.  Take a step, and sense, through your shoes, the compression of your foot against your shoe, and the shoe against the ground.  Then, start to walk at a slow pace. Remember you are not going to any destination.
  4. If something catches your eye, or any other sense, feel free to stop and dwell in it.  Pay gentle attention to use all your senses: smell, and sound and sight may come easily.  Taste and touch may take additional attention. Touch the world around you. Use words of sensation to describe it, instead of intellectualized or emotion words.  What does your skin feel – not happiness or anxiety- skin may sense the gentle grazing of the wind, or feel a cool temperature.
  5. Do not judge the object – serve only as a witness to what is around you. If you notice that you are quantifying your observation, or taking notes in your mind, be curious about that.  Then breathe. See if you can let it go or if you are holding on to it. In either case, approach your thoughts with curiosity.  
  6. Walk for as long as it feels comfortable.

Periodically, stop walking, close your eyes and take a breath.  Imagine your breath entering your nose and feel it inflating your shoulders.  Then go back to whatever step you were on and continue.

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