Forest Bathing

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When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
                                                                                                                              -John Muir

Every forest is different and every forest is the same, but each of them is one of earth’s great treasures. A network at once so breathtakingly complex and simple, we can only begin to experience the power of the forest when we are guided into feeling it. Imagine what it would feel like to submit to the wild hum of a beautiful sunny forest for an afternoon? It can change you.

In a world that can trend toward the complicated and overwhelming, if you are drawn to connect with nature find your way to the forest, you cannot help but slow down and recharge. Regardless of whether you are well versed in nature and mindfulness practices, or not, connecting with someone who is experienced and willing to lead you in Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) is such an immense gift of self care. Shinrin-yoku translates to ‘taking in the atmosphere of the forest ‘ and was created in Japan in the 1980s as a way to counteract a lifestyle of ever-increasing stress. It has become a regular practice in Japan and South Korea to forest bathe, for both preventative purposes and to convalesce.

While each of us has an intuitive sense of the power of the forest, how great we feel when we are there, a permanent knowledge of the smells, the sense of laying on a mossy creek-bed in dappled light, listening to water burbling, the sounds of birds calling and insects humming, there is so much more to learn. As science begins to uncover trees’ capacity to communicate and share with each other through a vast network of mycelia (white stringy fungus) and live together in families that care for each other in ways not so dissimilar from humans, we know there is ancient knowledge that has been too long overlooked.

An expert in the forest can open your perceptions in ways you have yet to experience, stretching you and linking you. There is such a deep level of embrace waiting for you, if you choose to be led in this way. The trees are willing to offer you entrée into the universe. And if you feel safe enough to explore as deeply as you can, there is connection as profound as you can fathom. You will feel you, me and everything else there is; a belonging of a kind that exists nowhere else. Who doesn’t want to feel that?

21 thoughts on “Forest Bathing

  1. Beautiful writing and I too have experienced this in the forest. I am very much at home there and yet sometimes I think it is no one’s home really. It belongs to the earth and it is sacred to all who come to it’s sanctuary and have awakened.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes, that makes sense to me. We DO belong to the forest. Without our forests, we would surely not have enough oxygen, and they are home to so many wonderful creatures and other wonderful things as well. Even the stones are magical!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think trees collectively have that impact on us..a forest or woods always invoke a feeling of calm almost ethereal…Thank you for following my blog. I like the colours and outlay of yours very simple but effective 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When I first read about forest bathing or shinrin-roku, I felt elated that the world now had a recognition for what I had always known and practiced. Proximity to nature is a priority in my life and whenever I didn’t have my daily immersion, I felt out of balance. It’s food for the soul.

    Liked by 4 people

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