Imagine a space where the air feels fresh and clean yet you are not in the shower or bath tub, but bathing deep amongst the trees.
There is actually such a practice in Japan; it’s called Forest Bathing. It’s proven to lower heart rate blood pressure, reduce stress, restore attention, boost the immune system, and improve overall feelings of wellbeing, which can also contribute to improved sleep.
I’ve always loved being amongst the trees. Connecting with nature brings a feeling of peace and tranquillity; when I rest with my back against a tree, I listen to their boughs swaying in the wind hearing the creaks and cracks. I believe its their voice; their way of communicating with us.
Each tree is an individual. Each has their own voice. So very different and yet so very much like us in their own way; their spirit, essence, texture, size, shape and strength can teach us how to be intimate with nature, feeling their gentleness from within.
As I listen I tune into their energy and vibrations, softening any negative stress felt by the brunt of everyday life; slowly releasing a wonderful feeling of contentment that can be achieved as our rhythms become synchronized with theirs.
Taking time out to be with nature helps bring me closer to my own spirit. I’ll usually take one of my favourite essential oils, Sacred Mountain, when I’m planning a Forest Bathing session. This beautiful aroma helps me to reconnect to deepest memories, at a later time.
Connecting to all things nature helps to heal us emotionally; we are made of the same stuff, giving us a chance to remember who we really are. I believe both that each of us has a purpose and we each have gifts to offer the world, and nature can help us to discover both.
As I randomly explore, wandering amongst the trees it’s like a wonderful adventure. This takes me back to when I was a child to one of my very favourite books. It’s called “Johnny & Sophie on Holidays”; I still have this book and every time I have one of these Forest Bathing experiences, I pick up the book again and gaze through it with such fond memories of my childhood. I always believed that I was Sophie!
There is one particular page that I loved more than any other, where Sophie was lying down next to a tree on a bed of grass with small white flowers; she is gazing up to the sky with her arms behind her head and her legs crossed wearing a little tartan skirt. I could see her cute little white knickers and white boots. I would stare for hours, looking deeply into this page for such a long time, as if I was looking at myself, visualising it was me living this experience – and now I am!
The book was about a brother and sister holidaying in the South of France. They were staying with their parents on a farm in the country and they were allowed to spend a lot of time exploring on their own. Johnny was very fond of nature study and loved to explain things to Sophie.
They explored the trails and cliffs, streams and waterfalls. They paddled down the river in a canoe, walked through the woods where they would see dragonflies, all kinds of birds, beetles, fish, farm animals and even bats!
This book has always inspired me and continues to do so. Having a greater awareness of how you feel in nature can give you great clarity and help discover the reasons why you feel that way. Nature helps you to connect with who you truly are, with your inner core, the authentic self; discovering what really matters in life.
Nature is a great ally and teacher, guiding, helping you to create the life that you want.
- Nature teaches you that there is no wrong with you.
- Time slow down.
- Nature models “just enough” sustainability.
- You surrender comfort and control.
- Nature reminds you that everything lives and dies, so you can appreciate life and its natural cycles.
- As the noise of our crazy culture fades, your mind calms and you experience silence and stillness.
- You behold the beauty of nature.
- You remember you are connected to all living things.
- You remember who you truly are.
- You experience the divine.
Ten Tips of Inspiration by – Kris Abrams
As well as walking in the woods there are other ways to feel trees’ benefits. ‘My granddaughter and I are tree huggers and proud of it!
Take time to simply sit and engage in the sounds, smells, sights, textures and even the taste of the air; enliven all five senses! Smell the aromas of the trees and shrubs and listen to the water moving in the streams.
If you are overwhelmed by the noise and ‘busyness’ of modern life, I recommend you take the time to Bathe in the Woods, to destress, relax, restore and reconnect.
This practice is also known as Shinrin Yoku, Forest Bathing or Forest/Nature Therapy.
If you cannot get to a forest in busy times my suggestion is to diffuse some essential oils.
Aromas and smells are a great way to reconnect you to a past memory. As I mentioned earlier, I use a drop of Sacred Mountain essential oil, one of my favourites, when I go Forest Bathing. When I can’t get out, I’ll diffuse this favourite, and it’ll take me back there in seconds. . .
These are my favourite Forest Bathing essential oils:
Idaho Balsam Fir
Idaho Blue Spruce
Live harmoniously with nature every day!
Contact Cheryl Grealy
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