In Japan, shinrin-yoku, aka forest bathing, is a slow and sensory walk through the forest and has been a preventative well-being practice since the 1980's. The nature and forest therapy framework I trained in isn't a series of activities, but rather a whole process that draws on the Japanese practice, as well as nature connection and Way of Council elements, offered in a non-prescriptive manner, thus respecting each person's individuality.
Like yoga, forest bathing is best considered as a regular practice.
What to expect?
Each forest bathing walk is a unique experience and follows the seasons and nature’s cycle. It is a gentle stroll of 2 to 3 hours in a small group, on a trail that is usually less than a mile. During this time, the guide suggests a series of invitations which enable the participants to be in the present moment and place, help them slow down, as well as experience their surroundings with all their senses and reinforce connection to self, nature and others. There’s also time spent in silence and time to share our experience together, in a safe space and without any obligation.
These walks are like a small journey where time suspends itself. Being immersed in nature and following its pace quietens the mind and relaxes the body, as well as improves your focus and creativity, enabling you to be more receptive to what nature has to mirror back to you.
Main proven mental well-being benefits:
Why walk with a guide?
Very often, we behave outdoor in the same way than in our daily life : talking on the phone, rushing, exercizing, thinking about the lists of things we've got to do. A certified guide ensures that you can benefit from the full experience, without any distractions. My role is first to remove the worry of time keeping and destination from you, as well as ensure your safety and comfort.
I'm trained to create sensory and mindful ways to interact with nature through an intimate collaboration with it. I help you slow down and transition from your fast-paced and busy life to a calmer and more personal territory. I also provide a safe space for all the participants to share their experience.
A walk with a guide introduces you to ways of incorporating this practice into your daily life.
Who is it for?
It doesn't require any athletic abilities, as it is not a hike. And it can be a good alternative to meditation.
A forest bathing experience would be most beneficial if you are :
Here's what previous participants said :
"I'm calmer and I feel I have a sharper mind"
"I'm less hyped-up, more aware of the surroundings and more peaceful"
"I feel restored and in a more positive mood"
"I'm more in tune with myself and nature"
Given the different nature of the two practices, if you're considering both counselling and forest bathing, we would need to discuss this first together.
What if it rains?
As Roger Miller said "Some walk in the rain, others just get wet".
The walk will still happen in light rain and be adapted in consequence. Rain can actually enhance the sensory experience of the walk.
In case of extreme weather, it'll be cancelled.