Author: Julia Plevin
And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul. – John Muir
I first encountered the term “forest bathing” while browsing a blog, I was marveled by the concept, hence, I searched about it. I fancy the idea, a Japanese lifestyle practice (Shinrin-yoku) referring to as an art of spending intentional time in nature to increase health and restore well-being. The concept is akin to nature therapy.
I chanced upon this book while at Fully Booked in BGC, Taguig last year. Back then, it was the only book about forest bathing, with a single copy available. After scanning few pages, I resolved to buy it. Deciding to embark on my own journey of reconnection with forest and nature.
The intention of the author in writing the book is “to open the door to the world of interbeing – the essential connectedness of the universe. That nature connection is a very personal matter. The real magic happens when we take a walk in the forest. Everywhere, forests are vying for our attention. “
The objective is not to separate forest bathing from regular life, it’s not to run off into the wilderness to get away. Instead, the goal is to integrate the wisdom of the forest with our everyday lives and create a new way of being. Studies showed that looking up at trees even for just a minute could induce feelings of wonder, which resulted in increased altruism and feeling of belonging. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with life, simply lie down on earth. Stay there in nature’s cradle until you’re ready to continue .
Even if we are living in a big city without easy access to forests, we can still practice forest bathing at the comfort of our city parks and the likes. We just have to look around us and find refuge in nature that is within our reach. Sharing with you photos of my own forest bathing in the city, captured at U.P Diliman in Quezon City.
Nature is a healer, we just have to open up to her healing power. Getting lost in the vast beauty of its earthy component. After all, we are all connected in this web of life. Nature puts us in a better mood. Spending our time close to it realigns our rhythm with those around us.
Few years ago, I discovered my enthusiasm for hiking, my own version of forest bathing, of being amazed with the beauty of natural trails in the woods. I love the feeling of disconnection. Being one with nature. Once in awhile together with my office buddies, we schedule a day hike at the nearby mountains in the metro. A nice breather from the demands of work and the rush of the big city life.
In reality, we will not always be in the forest, but the real work is to bring that tranquility, peace, and awareness that we cultivated in the forest into all aspects of our daily living. We can bring nature into our everyday lives. Dab some woody essential oils on your wrist-inhale and exhale. Light a candle and watch the flame. Water a plant. Just a dash of greens and small shift perspective can transform a situation and uplifts our mood.
Everything in nature has a rhythm, its how the planet keeps track of time. Each day has a rhythm. When we align our lives to the flow of nature, we’re able to move with grace and ease. The positive effects of forest bathing are: boosting our immune system, lowering blood pressure and blood sugar levels, reduce stress and improves mood, mental health and ability to focus.
Consider nature’s invitation for you to slow down, enjoy solitude, walk in silence, cultivate tree energy to find deeper meaning and contentment. To unplug, relieve anxiety and spark creativity. Beyond anxiety, stress, fear and despair, there is infinite peace of mind, joy and serenity. Discover it yourself. This is what you will find when you step in the forest.