Definition - What does Forest Bathing mean?
Forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku, is a Japanese form of nature therapy that originated in the early 1980s; although, similar practices have been popular in many cultures and traditions for far longer. It has gained popularity in the West and is considered by some to be a powerful addition to a yoga practice.
The word, “bathing,” refers to the idea of absorbing the experience using all of the senses, rather than anything to do with water. Forest bathing aims to bring healing through connection to nature and trees. The practice is said to enhance well-being, reduce stress and restore calm.
Yogapedia explains Forest Bathing
The exact guidelines for forest bathing vary, but the yogi may do any or all of the following:
- Stand with eyes closed, absorbing the experience of being in the forest.
- Practice walking meditation, paying attention to the sensations of the feet on the ground.
- Practice yoga or tai chi.
- Hold a tea ceremony in the forest.
- Choose a particular tree to connect with.
Forest bathing is not the same as going for a hike in nature; it is more of a mindfulness practice. It can be practiced by those with any level of physical fitness and in any location where there are trees.
It is considered a powerful antidote to daily stress, and may be especially beneficial for those who live in cities with limited opportunity to connect with nature. Forest bathing provides a bridge back to the natural world.