Have you ever walked through a colorful autumn forest, fully soaking in the fresh air with all your senses wide awake?
If yes, congratulations! You were having a “forest bath”.
This ancient technique of taking a calm, meditative walk in nature brings many benefits that you might have felt straight away. The Japanese call it Shinrin-yoku and refer to it as a bridge connecting us to the natural world. Unlike any other exercise it is simply about being in nature and connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.
If you haven’t tried it yet, don’t worry. Today is the best day to start and these 5 steps will guide you through the process:
- Find a spot. You can forest-bathe anywhere where there are trees. If you don’t have a forest nearby, you can also bathe in a park or garden.
- Unplug from technology and give your busy mind a rest. You don’t need any devices, so leave your phone behind and start walking.
- Let your body guide you. There is no goal. Walk slowly and mindfully. Be open and curious about everything around you.
- Become aware of your 6 senses. Look at the trees and see all their different shades of green, yellow, red and brown. Notice their unique shapes. Watch the sunlight coming through the branches, creating patterns on the ground. Hear the rustling leaves, the wind and listen to the birds singing their songs. Take deep breaths and taste the fresh, clean air. Smell the natural scents of the forest. Just think aromatherapy. Touch the trunk of a tree, the leaves, the moss and sink into what you feel. Lie on the ground. Take everything in and fully immerse yourself in nature. Notice a sense of calm, joy and deep inner peace. Rest there and enjoy.
- Repeat as often as you wish. Preferably every day.
So stop reading now, jump into your favorite walking shoes and get out there. Nature is waiting for you. Be kind and respectful to everyone and everything you encounter. Enjoy every moment. Life is precious.
If you want to dive deeper into forest-bathing later, here are two books I highly recommend.
- Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing Li
- The Hidden Life of Trees: What they feel, How They Communicate by Peter Wohlleben