From the start of a forest bathing session we are often looking through the eyes of the poets and the painters, until we can see with our own eyes.
I love this quote to start a session, from Robert Louis Stephenson (1904), the idea that the forest can make a ‘claim on our hearts’. That there is a ‘subtle something’, we can not put our finger quite on it, but we know we feel different after a walk in the woods. And lastly, the concept that nature and the woods, ‘renews a weary spirit’. Over the past 12 months and various lock-downs, I have delivered this virtual session, and it is clear that we are all a differing stages of weariness. Perhaps some time in the company of trees can renew the spirit.
I often introduce the research to participants, both academic and mainstream media. There is a list at the end of this blog if you want to do your own further research.
But fundamentally, the science and wider research supports the notion that being in nature and particularly woodlands, supports our immune system, reduces our stress hormones, and lowers our blood pressure. All these physical, and measurable improvements ultimately lead to us feeling more relaxed, content, able to re-focus and take the next step.
So, whether outside in the trees, or indoors and needing to connect to nature, follow these basic Forest Bathing Guidelines.
If your indoors and unable to get out, here is a beautiful recording that you can use to focus on. Choose to concentrate on sight or hearing for a comfortable amount of time for you. Sit comfortably, breathe easily, allow thoughts to come and then move them on with no judgement and come back to nature.
Nature Therapy: Relaxing Full Motion Forestry with Natural Sounds
Whether you are using the video or managing to get outdoors, here are some simple invitations to try out. Remember to find your place, be comfortable and relaxed, breathe easily and …..
At the end of this slide you can see some further suggestions to support and guide you in developing your Shinrin Yoku experiences wherever you are.
Kaplan and Kaplan – Attention Restorative Therapy
Dr. Qing Li – Into the Forest
Sue Stuart-Smith – The Well Gardened Mind
Further reading from me
BACP – Coaching Today Journal – April 2020 – Into the forest, resilience building for young adults. Jane Owen https://www.bacp.co.uk/bacp-journals/coaching-today/