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Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing)

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For those of you who love to get into nature, you’ll be happy to know that you can enhance the already great benefits you feel from doing so. How? A little Japanese technique named Shinrin Yoku or Forest Bathing. This technique was developed in the 80’s to tackle the high number of deaths by over-work in Japan and South Korea. Forest bathing is essentially a mindfulness activity. It is simple enough to do alone but you can also choose to be guided by a trained Shinrin Yoku facilitator, this is especially helpful for those of you who struggle to slow down.

 

So what does Forest Bathing entail? Here are some easy steps to help guide you on your journey:

  1. Find yourself some bushland or a forest, somewhere you can walk amongst the trees. Some of our favourite places at Feeling Healthy include: Toorongo falls (VIC), Organpipes National Park (VIC), Beauchamp Falls (VIC).
  2. Leave all electronics in the car, this is your chance to disconnect from the material world and reconnect with yourself and mother nature.
  3. When you’re ready, start to notice your surroundings, really take them in. The tree’s, the leaves, the dirt, the sky…
  4. Walk very slowly, continue to take everything in. The sounds, the animals, the trees, the leaves, the ground, the branches, everything.
  5. Notice the motion of the forest, the movement, the pace, the flow.
  6. Make friends with the forest, touch the trees, hug the trees (if you feel compelled), be gentle.
  7. Sit down and continue to take in the surrounds. Notice. Do this for about 20 minutes if you can.
  8. Show gratitude, be thankful for the forest, for its support. Show gratitude to yourself, your mind, body and spirit.

 

You can see from the explanation that your stress levels will benefit greatly from this but apart from reducing stress what else can Forest Bathing improve?

Some of the research suggests forest bathing can:

  • Improve immune function
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Reduce stress & improve mood
  • Increase focus
  • Accelerate surgical recovery
  • Increase energy
  • Improve sleep

Regular practice can also improve intuition, flow of energy and deepen your sense of happiness.