Forest Bathing (Shinrin-yoku)
Have you ever tried forest bathing? Also known as “Shinrin-yoku”, this Japanese art involves connecting with nature, using your senses to take in everything around you. Head out in to your garden or local park and try it for yourself!
Shinrin-yoku was developed in Japan in 1980’s and was so effective that it is now a national health programme there. It has been found to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, improve memory and concentration, and some findings even show it can help us stay healthy!
You can do this alone or with other people living in your house, just make sure you are spread out so you don't interrupt one another. It goes without saying, leave electronic devices out of reach so you can properly switch off and unwind with nature.
Follow these steps to get started:
- Find a calm space in your in your garden or a park.
- Walk slowly around the area, making a large circle. Stop every 5 steps to take a deep breath. What can you see or smell?
- Find a spot to plant your feet. Pretend to grow into a tree, feeling the breeze between your fingers.
- Collect 2 different leaves. Look at their shapes. If it’s sunny, how are their shadows different? If it’s rainy, try and collect water droplets on the leaves as they fall from the sky.
- Go to a tree or bush. Feel the bark. Is it squishy or hard, smooth or rough? Can you reach all the way around the trunk or branch?
- Find a comfortable spot on the ground to sit. Listen carefully to the sounds of nature with eyes closed.
- Open your eyes, take a second to be thankful for nature and all that it provides.
It can take as long as you like, but aim for at least 15 minutes. Let us know how you get on by tagging us on social media @theparkstrust!