The Japanese art of forest bathing, shinrin-yoku, has become a phenomenon, with many people around the world catching on to its profound benefits. This post is about my take on forest bathing and how I like to do it.
After reading the book by Dr. Qing Li, (which I highly recommend, not just for its insights on nature + well -being, but also for its gorgeous photos) I decided to try forest bathing my own way.
I’m lucky enough to live in the middle of a forest, but even if you don’t, you can still enjoy forest bathing by visiting parks and green spaces in your city/town. For me, the ultimate in forest bathing is to rest and relax in a hammock. If that’s not possible, you can always bring a blanket to your favourite park. Once you’re lying down, you can relax every muscle in your body and drink in the sights and sounds of nature. One of my favourite things about doing forest bathing lying down is looking up through the canopy of green leaves and enjoying the way that the light dances through them. The Japanese have a word, komorebi, which roughly translates as “the sunlight filtering through the leaves in the trees,” and lying down allows one to truly appreciate this in the most relaxed way possible. Forest bathing in a hammock also gives you the opportunity to fall asleep in nature if you want to, something that can pretty tough to do when lying on the forest floor worrying about getting bugs and dirt in your hair (and everywhere else:)
Dr. Li recommends in his book that you spend at least 2 hours in the forest to derive health benefits from forest bathing, but even if you don’t have 2 hours to spend, it’s still worth it, as according to him, the benefits start to kick in approximately 20 minutes into your immersion in the forest. I personally find that after even just 30 minutes in the hammock, I feel rejuvenated, although I always love to spend more time there if I can.
So if you love nature + nap time the way that I do, try it in the forest in a hammock, or on a blanket, or even in a setting with just a few trees around, and you will feel refreshed and energized in a way that you never thought possible.