“You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves”
Forest Bathing is a direct translation of the Japanese term Shinrin-Yoku (森林 浴). It means to “take in the forest atmosphere with all the senses” or literally to “forest bathe”.
Forest bathing can be described as a very slow walk in a park or forest, with the senses open to natural experiences. We “bathe our senses in the forest athmosphere” when we allow ourselves to spend time in the forest, with our attention open to what may arise and our senses immersed in connection with the natural environment.
Shinrin-Yoku, Forest Bathing has emerged as part of Japanese culture, where the human – nature connection is considered important to the well-being of both. When stress related health issues increased dramatically in the population during the early 1980s, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, established forest parks for the urban population to visit. The term Shinrin-Yoku, Forest Bathing was introduced and research was established. Shinrin-Yoku guides were eventually introduced to offer people easy and pleasurable access to relaxation, therapeutic recovery and healing through presence and sensory contact with a living environment. .
Forest bathing is sometimes compared to mindfulness and can be regarded as both similar and quite different. But on the whole, Forest Bathing and Forest Therapy invite an experience of “presence and attention without effort”, an awake and relaxed perception that arises spontaneously and naturally.