Forest bathing, or Shinrin-yoku in Japanese, is an ancient practice that has been used for centuries to promote physical and mental wellbeing. It is a form of nature therapy that involves spending time in a natural environment, usually a forested area, immersing oneself in the sights, smells, sounds and textures of the natural world. By simply being in nature and engaging all of your senses, forest bathing can have profound benefits on your health and wellbeing.
The concept of forest bathing was developed in Japan in the 1980s as part of a national public health initiative. Studies conducted by the Japanese government showed that spending time in the woods could reduce stress levels and improve overall health. By then the population in the crowded cities was suffering more and more from physical pain and mental disease.
Since then, numerous scientific studies have shown that exposure to nature can lead to decreased levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), improved mood and focus, increased creativity and problem-solving skills, better sleep quality, enhanced immune function and more.
So how do you get started with forest bathing? The best way to experience forest bathing is to find a nearby forested area – it can be as small as a park or even a city garden – and spend some time there. Make sure to leave all electronic devices at home so you can focus on connecting with nature without any distractions.
Start by taking some deep breaths and allowing yourself to relax into the moment; take your time to really look around you at the trees, rocks, plants, animals etc., and take notice of any changes happening around you (the rustling of leaves or birdsong). Allow yourself to get lost in your surroundings for a few minutes before slowly coming back into awareness.
During our retreats in Svib, Croatia, we also offer several exercises to stimulate the reconnection with nature. Also can you book sessions of forest-bathing for yourself or your team in Potsdam. Berlin and surroundings.
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