There has been some new buzz recently here in the Western Hemisphere about the concept of forest bathing. If you have not heard of it you are not alone but you need to hear about it, and no, it’s not actually taking a bath in a forest. Forest bathing is the healing way of Shinrin–yoku , the medicine of simply being in the forest. Shinrin–yoku is a term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” This is a practice that the Eastern cultures have been doing for centuries and it is pretty simple yet has tremendous benefits to our person as a whole.
It is simply getting out in the wild and just being present in that current place and engaging the senses.
As you bath in the outdoors you use all of your senses to bring your awareness to that place and that moment. Now to take it further, this practice does not have to be resigned to just a forest, this can be used in various outdoor spaces and should be used in a space that resonates the most with you. If you are a beach goer and love the coastal areas and islands; that is your place, if you love the arid, dry, desert plains then that is where you will get that most benefit from it. Pick the terrain and place that resonates the most with you and your soul. Get away from the “hum” of everyday life and disconnect, bath in the natural world with all that it has to offer and engage your senses. Do not set a time limit if you can and just get out in it and just be.
When I go out in the forest or in the mountains I try my very best to take my time where I am, look around with the naked eye for what is around me, listen to what birds are singing, the wind blowing through the trees, the sound of a creek or river rushing by. I inhale deeply and take notice of the smells, wood, water, the earth! It is a sensory exploration and experience, one that you will not soon forget. I highly encourage you to get out there and have these experiences, bath in the forest, ocean, or mountains as much as you can. You will find that these experiences are incredibly satisfying to your soul which will only lead you to wanting more and trying to get there as much as you can.
The Takeaway: Take time this week to get out in nature, even if it’s for 5 minutes. If you can’t go to your “ideal” location, that’s ok. Sometimes just sitting in your backyard with a cup of coffee or tea and watching the sunrise can set the tone for your entire day. Do something intentional for your well-being. Taking care of yourself radiates to those around you.