Forest Bathing

Into the woods I thought I knew

I see the buds of spring that grew;

No bird that’s flying with the air

will see me  glimpse and smell what’s ever there

Martin Moebus

I came across this rotting log while in the woods. The sun reflected and just lit it up.  The picture does not do it justice.  The colors of the green lichen, the brown of the decaying leaves and needles,  the shadows playing on the wood, the sound it made when I slowly turned it over to see what was underneath —  wish you had experienced it too.

It’s spring time in New England.  It is a great time to get out and explore the world around you. A great way of doing this is forest bathing. Forest bathing means simply spending time outside and really observing.  It comes from the Japanese word “shinrin” (forest) and “yoku” (bath).

Forest bathing is not a hike or run.  It is more of a meander or ramble. There is no destination, just observing and interacting with what is around you. 

We try to see the world around us as if for the first time.  We slow down, see what is to be seen, breathe deeply, and smell whatever there is to smell.  Hear the birds, our footsteps, the crunching on the dirt or the undergrowth, the sound of the wind in the trees.  Feeling ourselves from our feet to our head, seeing everything with still eyes taking in what is around us.  Perhaps even tasting the air. How ever you do it, do it SLOWLY.

The best thing about forest bathing is that it requires no special gear – comfortable clothing is all you need. Nor does it require a special place, any woods or outside area will do.  You may want to turn your cell phone off as you roam.  

In the spring is a great time to experience the forest.  The little peep frogs are starting to come out. If you are near a vernal pool perhaps you may hear them or another frog even during the day. Listen intently, turn over a rotting log in the forest and look to see what you can find – perhaps a salamander or other creature. Sit still under a tree and watch the sun and shadows as they move about .  Feel your hand on the cool ground.  Engage all of your senses and experience the world as if for the first time.  

You may want to take a few pictures of what you see and experience.  If you do, after your forest bath, you can sit down and journal about the experience.  Your pictures may  help you get back into the experience. Reflect also on how you feel.  How is your mood after your forest bath?

Hope to see you soon in the forest.  

The Digital Yogi

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