“It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson
Recently, people all over the world have started practicing forest bathing.
To get outdoors and go for a beautiful hike does something for the soul. Being out in nature is soothing, refreshing and it most certainly has some healing powers. All of us already know that nature is just good for you. And we don’t need modern science to teach us this, as even our ancestors knew that being outdoors had a certain power.
Walking beneath the trees on a summer’s day, with the shrill sounds of cicadas filling the clear air, the dappled sunlight filtering through the trees, and the cool breezes keeping you refreshed, is an instant mood booster and since it has the power to reduce stress, a walk in the woods can be good for your health too.
While we might just enjoy the experience without the need for attaching a name to it, the Japanese have. In a practice known as shinrin-yoku, a term that literally translates to “forest bath”, a forest bath means bathing in the atmosphere that you experience when walking through a wooded area.
The practice focuses on being in nature, and while you are not called to exercise or have a specific thing to do in order to have this experience, one way to enjoy a forest bath, is to go hiking.
How do you forest bath?
Forest bathing is all about making a real connection to nature. By using all of your senses, including sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing, you can bridge the world between yourself and nature. Sometimes, especially when we become very busy and stressed, we end up being disconnected from the natural world around us. Practicing forest bathing from time to time can help.
To enjoy a forest bath, you firstly need to find a place to do it. It could be in your garden, but ideally it should be somewhere away from your normal setup. Bermanzi is a great place to go since we are away from the city and deep in nature.
When you have found the perfect spot, and your distractions are minimal (try turning off your phone), simply walk aimlessly and let your body guide you, even if you end up stopping along the way to sit beneath the trees. Take your time on your walk and really take in everything that you come across along the way.
Breathing slowly, take in all of the smells, the trees can produce soothing scents, and if you come across a stream, dip your fingers or toes into the waters. After doing this for a while, you will feel more relaxed and at peace with the world around you.