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Inspirations / Art of living

Forest Baths: The Call of the Wild

We all feel this appeal of wide open spaces and vegetation. Nature that perks up is at the very heart of the practice of “forest bathing”, a Japanese term designating the practice of healing through immersion in nature.
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If life in the city can have many charms and many interests, each of us knows that noise, lack of natural light, lack of space, vegetation and pollution tend to damage us and that On the contrary, nature perks us up. If at the end of winter, the parks, woods and forests surrounding large cities are extremely busy from the first rays of sunshine, it is no coincidence. We all feel this fundamental need for nature. We all feel the well-being that comes from simply opening a window overlooking a tree-lined street and taking a deep breath.

All this may seem obvious, but it is perhaps good to remember how fundamental nature is for our balance. Numerous scientific studies carried out in the United States and Japan have demonstrated the therapeutic benefits of proximity to nature in general and trees in particular...

What is forest bathing?

forest bath call of nature photo tree branch with drop

The notion of “forest bathing” (Shinrin-Yoku) is a term coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture in the 1980s to describe the practice of healing through immersion in nature. Based on the research of Professor Miyazaki Yoshifumi. Read his very interesting interview on the subject in and “Shinrin Yoku: forest bathing, the Japanese secret to calming your mind and being in better health” book published by Éditions Trédaniel. “Forest bathing” helps combat stress, certain forms of depression, certain chronic joint and muscular problems and strengthens our immune system. You will always find critics of this approach. There will always be people who believe that the scientific evidence of the benefits of the forest for our body is questionable. It is therefore not a question of entering into an expert debate but rather of inviting everyone to have their own experience by trying to apply four key tips from those who have been practicing this activity for years.

Four tips for practicing forest bathing

hand that touches the wheat field call of nature drill bath explanations advice

Leave all your devices at home

To promote total immersion, cut off anything that can distract you or ask you, such as the notification of an email, a message or your heart rate watch. The idea is to keep your mind in the present moment. Be in the forest physically, mentally, COMPLETELY.

Don't follow a set path

Absorbing the immediate environment is part of the experience of making yourself fully available to the smells, lights, noises, birdsong and the multitude of colors around you. Let all this information stimulate your brain and your senses. To do this, do not be distracted or focused on following a particular path or absolutely going through this or that place. You are not a tourist. Your immersion should not have a PURPOSE.

Soak up the atmosphere

Pay attention to everything around you: the strength of the wind, its direction, its different levels of intensity in the leaves. The variations of light, the different shades of green from one tree to another. The different flowers that litter the ground, the number of bird songs that you can have fun counting. As you approach a tree, observe and touch the rings on its trunk or follow the path of the ants. You will quickly find what attracts your attention and invites you to concentrate and will quickly notice that calm settles within you and that your breathing rhythms slow down. What was so important to you an hour ago may seem futile and stop cluttering your MIND.

Stay silent

If you are not alone during your immersive walk, make those around you aware of the fact of observing silence so that everyone can experience their moment of contemplation and gentle introspection. Now is not the time to argue, you can do that on the way home. Silence is the origin of all LIFE.
The call of the forest is there. Always and since the dawn of time. Will you be able to hear him and follow him?

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