We all know that spending time in nature is good for us and many of us have turned towards spending more time outside during this last year.
So, why would we need to be guided in nature? We all know how to walk, hike or just spend time in nature; is this not the same thing?
Is forest bathing simply sitting in nature and noticing a few things?
Another Fad? is this just the buzz thats around at the moment and everyone is joining in?
Actually no! Forest bathing as it is translated into English has been around for many years especially if you look at where it has been influenced from.
Shinrin Yoku was the term coined in the early 80’s in Japan when it developed this practice. Encouraging their people to move back into the forests and experience nature after a spike in stress related illness. Japan’s traditions included shinto and tao both of which offer practices and traditions that still influence shinrin yoku today.
The art of Shinto was first recorded in the 8th century (historical records of Kojiki and Nihon Shoki) It focuses on ritual practices that are carried out with diligence. These establish a connection between the present day and its ancient past.
In the western world dating back to the nineteen fifties and earlier, there was a lot of interest in vision quests, wilderness expeditions and self reflection. These offered periods of liminality, thresholds of incorporation and archetypes that guided in special ways. Again these influences can be seen throughout organisations offering forest bathing, forest therapy and nature wellbeing wanders. Many of these leaders originating through the same mentors.
Especially since the eighties, there has been lots of scientific studies that prove a lot of the claims of health benefits. Different trials focussing on specific outcomes from stress reduction to blood pressure normalisation and the production of NK cell production.
What participants may feel
Slowing down and spending the amount of time that you do on a guided session is definitely heightened in this experience.
There are feelings of increased wellbeing and calm.
Many participants also states they feel a sense of aliveness
How it ends
Ending with a shared pot of tea.
A herbal tea using foraged plants from the land.
This marks the end of the experience.
Our next sessions are in May and June.
Until next time