The Japanese, and most cultures that have an affinity for connecting to nature and making it a part of their lifestyle inherently know the profound benefits of time well spent in the forest. Forest Bathing has become a health trend in the asian culture as studies have shown the amazing benefits of doing a little “dirt time”.
(In my world, dirt time adapted by the community of Author, Master tracker, and Teacher Tom Brown, Jr is considered time spent connecting to the earth, and perfecting your skills related to nature and earth living. Such as, primitive skills, tracking, nature awareness and observation.)
“Studies in Japan have measured changes in immune markers and stress hormones in people who regularly walked in specific forests in Japan. In addition, people with diabetes but not taking insulin found substantial benefits by lowering blood glucose levels.” There are also studies indicating increases in human natural killer activity and expression of anti-cancer proteins.” Wikipedia
As some of you may know my slight obsession with aromatherapy, these various studies conclude the benefits of time in nature are discerned through the olfactory senses. The sense of smell, where your body integrates the constituents of plant, earth material and tree oils. The body can fully engage itself in its senses. Visually, we take in the beauty and perfection of the natural design and intimate connection we may have as we engage in this full body experience. Instead of the inundation of technology, modern gizmos and gadgets, we are fully immersed in our fundamental rooted nature, literally. We are nature. Not something outside of it. Our modern society just trains us this way. We live in a box, and we move from box to box. No wonder why we feel stifled, complacent, and disconnected.
The more in touch we are with this innate relationship with ourself and nature, as a living breathing organism, the more we can explore a unique opportunity to fully engage the potential of the human experience. One that is “In tune” with their surroundings and intuitive essence. If one treats it as such, nature is a connection to Source. A temple of Creation, a doorway to self discovery, and connection to the spirit that moves through all things.
To start your Forest Bathing experience..
- Simply Walk in Nature
Make it a meditative experience where you are engaging your senses. Breathe in life force energy fully and deeply. Feel the air on your skin, embrace the wind. Allow the radiance of the sun wash away your troubles and allow it to fuel your body with a light from within. Allow it to kickstart your internal fire, your passions, creativity, and drive.
- Find a Sweet Spot, aka Sit Spot Take 15 min to an hour to sit in a location you feel drawn to. Observe nature. Allow it to become a mirror to your own internal landscape. Note the behaviors of what crosses your path. Animals, insects.. Why did you feel drawn to the site? A specific tree, view..
3.Stop to smell the Roses
Sometimes when we think of an outdoor experience, we think maybe a hike would be nice. And, that is a great opportunity to connect. However, sometimes we get caught up in moving from location A to B. Unfortunately, sometimes we miss everything around us when our view is just one foot in front of the other. As a bodyworker, its my job to watch body mechanics and movement. In my observations, we more often than not are staring at the floor. Allow your vision to wander. Stop to look at the patterns of bark, engage in the opportunity to indulge and bask in the pure essence and fragrance of a honeysuckle bush.
Allow nature to guide you, fuel you, expand you. We have all heard the expression “Commune with Nature” It is a relationship. A dynamic. A conversation. A listening, and a chance to be heard.
The Gods listen through the perception of Nature.
xo Donna Brickwood