Shinrin Yoku translates literally as ‘Forest shower’ or ‘Forest Bathing’, and is an invitation to totally immerse ourselves in the embrace of the woods.
Shinrin Yoku originated in Japan in the 1980’s as a response to mass urbanization, disconnection from the land, and the results of unhealthy lifestyles in large overcrowded cities.
Here in the West we face a slightly different type of challenge – we are being encouraged to consume more, as a way of supporting an unsustainable economy, based on finite resources, and ecological degradation. We are also witnessing an increase in demands on an overstretched NHS, as our lifestyles often lead to unhealthy outcomes.
Shinrin Yoku is an evidence-based approach to encouraging people to engage with the natural world – particularly trees; and demonstrating through clinical testing and research the physical and immunological benefits of contact with Nature.
In Japan, Shinrin Yoku walks take place on forest roads, known as ‘therapy roads’, the practices tend to be quite formalized and prescriptive, and location specific. In this country we have our own unique landscape, so our courses have been adapted to account for the cultural differences, and environmental characters of our magical, ancient woods and landscapes.
We combine the Shinrin Yoku practices with ecological awareness, mindfulness exercises, embodied presence, sensory attunement and the discovery of ways of communication with the other than human world that would love to meet us.
We include the mental, emotional and spiritual needs and benefits of connecting to Nature at a deeper level, the experience of awe that leads to an appreciation of the natural world and therefore a desire to protect and nurture it, to give something back. This is reciprocity and is part of our ecological ‘belonging’.