Forest Bathing is The Self-Care Movement of the Moment

It doesn’t matter how fit – or unfit – you are. Shinrin-yoku is suitable for any level of slothery.

2019 is, without doubt, the year of natural appreciation. 

Just look to Kate Middleton, who has designed a wildly impressive garden for the Chelsea Flower Show.

According to her co-designers, the mother-of-three was inspired by forest-bathing, an ancient practice that involves walking slowly and pensively through woodland to ‘bathe’ in its peace and beauty.

The practice hails from Japan, where forest bathing – or shinrin-yoku – is a legitimate means of relaxation. Shinrinin Japanese means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” So shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere or taking in the forest through our senses.

This is not exercise, or hiking, or jogging.

It is simply being in nature, connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Shinrin-yoku is like a bridge.

By opening our senses, it bridges the gap between us and the natural world.

The process requires body, soul and mind participation – meaning that phones and cameras stay home. 

Then one must walk aimlessly and slowly and let your senses be your guide. And take your time, it doesn’t matter if you don’t get anywhere. You are not going anywhere. You are just savouring it all, one step at a time. 

When it comes to finding calm and relaxation, there is no one-size-fits-all solution – it differs from person to person. It is important to find a place that suits you.

However, anywhere with trees seems to be a good place to start, given that recent (such as this one) found that short-term effects of “green exercise” help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety somewhat impressively. 

Contrary to its misleading name, you can forest-bathe anywhere in the world – wherever there are trees; no forest necessary. Even the most built-up cities in the world boast some greenery – now all you need to do, is meander around in it. 

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