Bath Time! Japanese Forest Bathing

Japanese Forest Bathing by Sally Sumpter

Aka: shinrin-yoku


          Yoku= bath

Shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses.It is not an exercise like hiking or jogging. It is just being in nature and connecting through sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.

By mindfully opening your senses when quietly and meaningfully immersed in the nature around you a bridge develops between our true higher selves and the natural world. Doing this will bring you into the present moment and allow emotional clearing on every level. 

Forest Bathing is an excellent exercise to incorporate with your mindful and healing practices you already implement. Taking a slow walk with nature, taking the time to reach a meditative state, stoping to look up into the trees and all around, breathing the smells of the dirts and leaves around you. This creates changes in the nervous system by reducing the production of Cortisol, as well as, boosting the immune system. 

Study by the EPA states the average American spends 93% of their time indoors and by 2050 66% of the world's population will live in cities. 

Japanese researchers have found that just after 15 minutes of forest bathing, blood pressure drops, cortisol levels are reduced, and concentration and mental clarity are improved. 

How to Forest Bathe:

Step 1:.  Leave behind all electronics and watches. This allows us the opportunity to completely connect with the experience ahead.

Step 2:  leave behind your goals and expectations. Have no end destination in mind. Allow your body to wander aimlessly taking you wherever it desires. 

Step 3:  pause for a moment and take a closer look at a leaf. Find some beautiful rocks and arrange them in a pattern noticing how they fit together. Watch ants crawl along the path or take your shoes off and notice the ground below your feet. 

Step 4:  find a relaxing spot and just sit and listen. Sit long enough to notice the behavior of the animals around you. Take deep breaths and allow your lungs to fill with the smells around you. This would be an excellent time to do a grounding exercise.

*Grounding Exercise*

Stand barefoot on the ground in a relaxed palms up receiving stance. Take three deep breaths...

Mindfully name...

5 things you can see

4 things you can smell

3 things you can touch

2 things you can hear

1 thing you can taste

Mindfully go through this list. At the end you will feel grounded and connected to the nature around you. 

Sit still with that level of mindfulness and take in what energy and clearing comes to you in this time.

5-. If you forest bath with a group resist processing your journey until the end of your walk. 

Enjoy the journey!