The Art of Forest Bathing
Immersing yourself in nature can surprisingly be far more beneficial than we think. From the sounds to the sights, being outdoors and deepening our connection with the natural world can yield a wide variety of mental, physical as well as spiritual benefits.
Forest bathing, the idea of absorbing nature’s atmosphere, is essentially the practice of slowing things down and becoming aware of our surroundings – no actual bathing involved.
Here’s how you can develop your connection with nature and yourself in a more purposeful and meaningful way:
Taking it Slow
Amidst nature, you’ll notice how everything has a pace to it. From the cool breeze blowing by to the ocean flowing beside you, movement aligned with the calming atmosphere. We’re familiar with a rush of sorts, always in a hurry, conforming to deadlines to function at a quicker pace but here, everything slows down. Your rest and digest mode will switch on as the nervous system begins to settle, bringing a sense of relaxation and healing.
If you live in the city, or at least close to one, it’s easy to attune your senses to the sounds of vehicles driving by, construction and people. We tend to ignore what it likes to see, hear and feel nature – from the veins along a leaf, a bird perched atop a branch to the swaying of the trees when a gust of wind blows by. Forest bathing awakens your senses in a very unique and profound way. Take the time to notice.
When we slow things down and become aware of our surroundings and senses, we practice presence – being in the moment. It can be an enlightening experience, bringing with it a sense of belonging, calm, peace and balance. You’ll perhaps also come to realise that we are far more connected to nature than we think.
Every moment in nature will bring out a sense of curiosity. As you begin to focus on what is around you, the spirit of inquiry will take over. What does the underside of a leaf look like? How heavy or light would this pebble weigh? Does the water feel cool or warm? What would it be like to walk barefoot across the muddy earth or grass? Curiosity can be quite liberating and immersive.
As much as many would like to believe being in nature is a solitary experience, it is infact one that harnesses many deep connections. Forest bathing allows for you to fall back in love with nature, practice gratitude and create a sense of balance; when you connect with nature, you are really connecting with yourself.