This summer everyone in New York State has an inside=bad, outside=good mindset. Maybe you're a hiker, or a mountain biker and with the absence of the obligatory parties and events that would normally distract you from your hobby you've been able to do more of what you love this spring and summer. Great! You probably already consciously or unconsciously understand the healing power of time in a forest. Maybe you're not into those things, and you find yourself doing a whole lot of swiping right now! If you find yourself at the bottom of a Pinterest pit you might want to consider doing something you've never done before - Shinrin Yoku.
The Japanese art of forest bathing, or Shinrin Yoku, was developed in the 1980's as a therapy to combat the downsides of being part of a modern, competitive society that's umbilically connected to its tech - sound familiar? To do it, you simply go sit quietly in the woods and use your five senses to connect with the forest. Then, if you want, you can walk through the woods seeing, touching, listening, smelling and tasting (be a little careful with that last one) the nature that surrounds you. Forest bathing has been shown to:
- lower heart rate and blood pressure
- increase mental acuity
- increase energy
- improve sleep quality
- reduce stress hormones
- boosts the immune system
- improve mood and feelings of wellbeing
How good does that sound? While there are certified Shinrin Yoku guides, you might want to start out with a self-guided bath. Here are a couple of videos to help you get started. The forest bathers in these videos run gauntlet from relaxed to high achieving relaxers! After giving it a try, if you find yourself so into it you want to become a guide, there are courses coming up at nearby Kripalu in the Berkshires.