In a previous blog we described the relaxing effect of nature and shinrin-yoku, the Japanese art of forest bathing. It is scientifically proven that forest bathing improves your immune system and gives you a relaxed feeling. But what do you do during a forest bath? We share some exercises for a nice forest bath.
Consciously slow down
Shinrin-yoku literally means “bathing in the atmosphere of a forest.” During a walk in the woods you usually don’t really pay attention to your surroundings. With shinrin-yoku, and with forest baths, you consciously slow down. You observe the forest in all possible ways.
A forest bath. How do you do that? 3 exercises
1. Walk slowly and stand still
Slow down your steps. Stand still occasionally. With a forest bath you take the time for everything. No route and no map. Follow your guts. You don’t have to walk for 15 kilometers. You don’t have to reach a goal, it’s all about the experience in the forest. A few kilometers is more than enough.
You can do a bodyscan while walking. You scan your entire body. Start at your feet. How do they feel? Cold or warm? Tense or relaxed? Do you feel your socks? And how do your calves, thighs and hips feel? What about your belly, back and shoulders? Piece by piece, all parts of your body are scanned. How does your body feel? Everything is alright you don’t have to change anything.
3. Use all your senses
With a forest bath you activate all your senses. How? Focus on everything you hear, see, smell and feel. What do you hear? Your own breathing, whistling birds and some sounds further away. Look around. What do you see on the ground, in the sky and between the trees? Smell! Which scents do you perceive? Keep this up for a while. And don’t forget to “feel”. Grab a handful of forest ground, touch branches, feel the tree trunk. Use all your senses carefully.
Autumn is a good time to go into the forest. And not only because the leaves show a beautiful color palette. Autumn is also the time to let go. Leaves fall from the tree and feed the soil around the tree, so the tree can bloom again in the fall. Just like in life. Sometimes you have to let go of people, non-helping thoughts or old patterns, making room for something new.
But first let things go. So hop into the forest! And discover what nature wants to tell you.
Want to read more?
Read more about the positive effects of walking.