This Wellness Wednesday, we’re talking about the art of Shinrin-Yoku or Forest Bathing.
The wellbeing benefits of spending time in nature might have only come to our attention following the long lockdowns of 2020, but it has long been a part of Japanese wellness culture. It is known as Shinrin-Yoku, or Forest Bathing.
According to makers of one of our favourite scents, Earl Of East, “taking in the forest atmosphere is proven to lower heart rate, reduce stress, and improve your immune system.” In fact, spending mindful time in nature has a multitude of benefits for the mind, body and soul.
While a woodland or natural forest might be ideal, city dwellers needn’t travel to a distant place to practice Shinrin-Yoku. Forest bathing can be practiced anywhere you can be immersed in nature, be it your local park, allotment or garden. Need a visual cue? Picture the tranquil Akasawa forest of Nagano; densely populated with centuries-old Japanese cypress trees and gentle running streams.
How to practice Forest Bathing
1. To begin your Shinrin-Yoku practice, settle yourself in nature, choosing a peaceful place and quiet time of day where you can concentrate on your own thoughts. You might choose a single place to sit, or a path to slowly meander.
2. Switch off. That means devices, notifications, earpods and alerts. If needed, switch on airplane mode to help disconnect from unwanted interaction. Forest Bathing is all about tranquility. This time is for you.
3. Silence your mind. Allow yourself to tune into the elements surrounding you that you might usually miss.
4. Let your senses guide you. Whether you’re in the forest, your balcony, or local gardens, absorb yourself in the practice of Shinrin-Yoku. Notice the sounds of nature; plants, winds, animals and feel the various elements that envelop you, be it heat from the sun, light filtering through trees or cooling winds.
5. Focus your breath. Practice breathing techniques to slow your breathe and focus the body, allowing your body to be calm, slow and present.
Shinrin-Yoku Candle by Earl of East
Inspired by the Japanese art of forest bathing, this is an earthy blend of cedar wood, oakmoss and black pepper.
Shinrin-Yoku Essential Oil
The earthy-mossy aroma eludes to the wet forest floor, instantly transporting you back to nature.
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