The secret to mindful travel? Forest bathing, a simple yet profound practice that invites you to slow down, reconnect with nature, and find peace in the midst of a busy world.
This mindfulness technique first emerged during the 1980’s as a physiological and psychological exercise called shinrin-yoku; translated to ‘forest bathing or ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’.
What is forest bathing?
Imagine yourself surrounded by trees, their leaves rustling gently in the breeze. The air is filled with the earthy scent of the forest, and the only sounds you can hear are the soothing calls of birds and the soft trickle of a nearby stream. This is forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku in Japanese, – the art of immersing yourself in the forest to promote mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
Forest bathing isn’t about hiking, jogging, or achieving a specific goal. Instead, it’s a mindful, meditative experience where you simply soak in the atmosphere of the forest. It’s about engaging your senses, calming your mind, and letting nature’s therapeutic embrace work its magic.
Who should start forest bathing?
The beauty of forest bathing is that it’s for everyone as the practice doesn’t require any special skills or equipment, and you can tailor your experience to your individual needs. From urban dwellers, nature enthusiasts, health seekers to creative souls – forest bathing can be adopted all ages and abilities.
For those looking to forest bathe at Marrington Escapes, we advise adult supervision while practicing forest bathing with children. Watch out for brambles and stinging nettles as these are present in our woodland areas.
How to start forest bathing
It could not be easier to start forest bathing. All you need is woodland, a forest or natural area – it does not need to be vast and remote. Our extensive grounds at Marrington are perfect for solitary strolls – with acres to explore it is unlikely that you’ll be disturbed.
With all outdoor activities, we recommend wearing comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing and sturdy walking shoes. Leave behind any distractions like phones or cameras. Just don’t forget your estate map.
As you walk through the trees, slow your pace and take a few deep breaths. Let go of your worries and focus on the present moment. Engage your senses and pay attention to what’s around you. Touch the leaves, listen to the rustling, smell the earth, and observe the colours and shapes.
Take slow, deliberate steps. Feel the ground beneath you and the support of the earth. You can use walking meditation techniques to enhance your experience. Whenever your mind starts to wander, gently bring your focus back to your surroundings. After a while, choose a quiet spot to sit or lie down. Close your eyes, listen to the sounds of the forest, and let your mind relax.
Before leaving, take a moment to reflect on your experience. Express gratitude for the healing energy of the forest.