Forest bathing in a nutshell
Forest Bathing or Shinrin Yoku isn’t about getting wet, it’s more about a reciprocal experience with nature.
Rather than bathing in water, you could describe the bathing aspect as the air you breathe while walking through the forest. Opening your five senses, and four more to the wild nature around you.
Forest bathing isn’t meditation or working out, it’s a time to slow down, receive, connect and be guided by invitations.
If you find yourself moving quickly, working out, slow down, stop for a moment and begin again slowly.
The meditative aspect of Forest Bathing is about experiencing the forest’s offerings as they come to you rather than meditating to focus on one point.
Having a child’s mind or beginners mind is important. A playful attitude, curiosity, a willingness to experiment will lead you to undiscovered territory. Your experience is more like tuning into the forest and listening to it, becoming one with it. Enjoying the experiences as they arise.
In addition to the five senses, sight, taste, hearing, touch and smell, forest bathing adds mirror sensing, body radar, imaginal sensing and heart sense. You can describe this as moving beyond exteroception, how we perceive things external to us, to proprioception, feeling location in space, and interoception, being sensitive to stimuli originating from within ourselves.
Believing in the experience working for you is part of it, like seeing, breathing, hearing feeling the forest with fresh eyes rather than remembering what others have said about it.
Usually, a forest bath is taken in silence, but when there is any conversation, keep it minimal, positive and supportive of the experience.
Allow the presence of plants and animals along with everything that is happening inside of you make an impression on you, your thoughts, emotions, senses.
Listen loosely and lightly.
Sharpen your sense of relationship through nature and beings.
Receive and give.
Natasha Gunn/ 28 February 2023