The sounds of twigs snapping and leaves whispering, the aroma of resin and blossoms, and now and again the comfort of sunlight on your face.
Yes, the deliciousness and beauty of walk in the forest.
For me personally, going to the forest is like visiting an old friend. When I need to recharge, get out of the house, or encounter some stillness inside I would always go for a gentle stroll in the forest. I always leave the forest with a smile on my face.
In the exotic country Japan these healing powers of the forest have actually been the centre of attention for quite a while. Here a stroll in the forest has a beautiful name, you immediately want to jump into. It’s called forest bathing, Shinrin-yoku. Defined as the practice of taking a short leisurely visit to the forest for health benefits.
What impact will the forrest have on you?
A study from Japan on official forest bathing trails have shown that habitual forest walks significantly reduce stress hormones and blood pressure, regulate blood glucose levels, boosts your mood, and increases energy level. Yeah science proofs my experience is true ;)
Breathing in forrest air appears to actually improve immune system functions. In order to protect themselves from germs and insects, trees emit natural essential oils, Phytoncide, improving their natural immune system. Taking in these scents will be beneficial for your protection and if you visit the forest after illness or surgery it will accelerate your recovery process. Do you think we have been unconsciously aware of this protection as many recovery and elderly centres are actually next woodlands?
How does it work?
The connection with nature starts with becoming aware of our respiration, our internal communication channel. The breath facilitates to embody contact with the present moment by concentrating on one simple element. This distracts us from thoughts about tomorrow, yesterday or the far future and enables us to be in the present.
When we are able to be in the present and afterwards reconnect to our surrounding it awakens our curiosity. This opens our internal doorways to expansive awareness. Therefore the next phase is to submerge yourself in the scents and sounds of the woods in silence. Hear the birds and wind passing by, smell the blossom and trees, and let your eyes follow the path of light trough the leaves of the trees. You'll be surprised about what you'll discover in the forest.
We’re so used to rushing and running around. Though, while observing the forest with all your senses you move very slow. When we slow down the forest has the time to do it’s work and you have time to truly take in all beauty of your surroundings. You might miss that beautiful bird sing if you walk to fast.
Nature something so fragile but at the same time so powerful. We spend so much time indoors, running around, on paved streets, and far away from observing our natural surroundings that today it’s necessary to study the benefits of connecting to nature. I hope it gives a little encouragement to people to go out to nature. Take your time for an easy walk, and let nature do the work and you’ll leave the forest energised, happy, and healthier.