If you love the great outdoors then you know the feeling that comes over you just stepping into nature. The sounds of wildlife buzzing all around you, the scent of the trees, the sunlight dancing through the leaves, the fresh, clean air-- it gives us a sense of peace. Being in nature not only restores your mood, but it can also serve as much need recharge to your internal battery.
That being said, it can still be hard to articulate these "feelings" with those less familiar with nature. That's why we are going to give you a little more science and background to take back to the water cooler to share with your co-workers and friends.
It's a Japanese practice called, shinrin-yoku. In Japanese, shinrin means "forest" and yoku means "bathing." So shinrin-yoku means taking in the forest through our senses. This is not exercising. It's not done on a trail run or a yoga practice at the summit of a mountain. It's sitting with nature and exploring your senses. (If you were at the Outbound Pursuit event in NY or are attending in California this is the practice we completed on our Yoga + Hike). When you still the body and mind to explore each sense as it is connecting with its natural environment you begin to create a path for connecting with nature.
The idea is simple: if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved. Some of the benefits noted are:
- Boosted immune system functioning, with an increase in the count of the body's Natural Killer (NK) cells.
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced stress
- Improved mood
- Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD
- Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness
- Increased energy level
- Improved sleep
Just as impressive are the results that we are experiencing as we make this part of our regular practice:
- Deeper and clearer intuition
- Increased flow of energy
- Increased capacity to communicate with the land and its species
- Increased flow of eros/life force
- Deepening of friendships
- Overall increase in sense of happiness
And if those benefits aren't enough we can address the statistic of how much time we are spending inside. A study by the Environmental Protection Agency recorded a 93% of an American's day is spent indoors. Oh no! We definitely need to spend a little more time outside.
Now that you have a little more background of Forest Bathing, looks like we should schedule a doctors appointment with Mother Nature. Good thing she's always available.