Practicing mindfulness techniques in a natural environment can be made easy using simple and easy methods. Simply listening, taking the time to really examine a tree and get to know it and creating artistic patterns using natural materials can be simple and easy for anyone and everyone to do. This is all part of the forest bathing (shinrin’yoku 森林浴) experience.
A great way of setting the scene and creating that intention is to ‘shake off’ our stuff before we enter the woodland. When animals that have been held in captivity and then released back into the wild you often see them ‘shaking off’ as if they are shaking off the modern world. We can do this too – actively shake your arms, legs and body and set that intention of leaving your stuff behind before you head on in to ‘bathe’.
Switching on your senses is a great way to become mindful and our natural world is full of wonders. What can you see? What can you hear? Is there any smell? What does the air feel like against your skin? And don’t forget to breathe! On average we breathe around 22,000 a day – how many of these breaths are you aware of?
Using the seasons and the weather are also useful tools. Whatever the weather Forest Bathing is available to us, using the different weather we have as a way of connecting with the environment we are in is a great reliable tool to have, the sound of the wind blowing through the trees during a listening invitation or the feel of the rain against our skin are both ways of really grounding yourself to the present moment. It’s great to experiment too, try listening with your hands cupped behind your ears or closing your eyes and listening – the more you listen, the more you hear!
With these simply tools and mindful techniques, forest bathing really can enrich our lives.
The benefits of taking a regular ‘forest bath’:
- Deeper and clearer intuition
- Healthier body and mind
- Increased flow of energy
- Increased capacity to communicate with the land and its species
- Increased flow of life force energy
- Deepening of friendships
- Overall increase in sense of happiness
- Better connection with yourself
Read more about the forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) movement here.
The author of this article, Faith Douglas has been so inspired by shinrin’yoku 森林浴 that she has created Forest Bathing UK, which offers the full shinrin’yoku experience, visit her new website here.