I have talked about the benefits of meditation and the perks of mindfulness. And today, I present you something that brings the benefits of both without much effort – Forest Bathing!
God placed his pharmacy in the woods and fields. And people are realizing the abundance that lies in the voids. Just sitting in the woods, even for a few minutes, can be the cure to many diseases.
Forest bathing is just that!
Forest Bathing is a simple tip to relax the mind and revitalize the body. Shinrin-Yoku is not exercising, hiking or jogging. It is simply being in the presence of nature, connecting with nature and letting nature heal the soul.
Also Read: Health Benefits of Walking Meditation
What is Forest Bathing?
The idea of forest bathing took shape in the 1980s in Japan. It was the dawn of the technological revolution when Japan crumbled under the pressure of work and hectic life. This new stressed work culture opened a can of healthcare burden, marital disputes and death due to burnout.
In a quest to find this balance between the new work culture and personal peace, they found this bridge and named it Shinrin-yoku. Shinrin translates to Forest and Yoku means bath!
Forest Bathing does not mean a physical bath of your body in the forest. But it is a spiritual bath that happens when you see, touch, feel, smell and listen to the woods. The forest washes away your stress and worries and restores the balance of your body.
This simple practice is scientifically proven to deliver a whole range of physical, mental, emotional and social health benefits.
Also Read: Health Benefits of Smile Meditation
A combo of meditation and mindfulness
Forest Bathing is a way of soaking nature’s healing powers just by sitting amidst the trees. Listening to the vibrations of nature, paying attention to the trivial things, feeling the peace and letting the silence sink in has abounded benefits.
It brings the combined benefits of meditation and mindfulness without having to do quite the effort.
Meditation is tough because stillness is not easy when the world is quivering, and mindfulness is a myth with distractions at every square of your sight. But going off to the forest and sitting on a wooden bench without your gadget or your thoughts, just watching the sky through the filters of leaves is both meditative and mindful!
How does it work?
We are nothing but a small element in this vast universe. Our energies, frequencies and vibrations move in sync with the universe. So, when we spend the day in a grilling ambience talking numbers that stresses the brain, our vibrations fall to lower energy levels.
To understand better, think of spending time with a bunch of pessimists and no matter how charged you went in, you will come out exhausted!!! The same thing happens when you spend your day in a factory filled with cluttered noises. Your energies extinguish. That’s the way our energies are impacted.
By connecting with the rhythm of nature, listening to its soothing hymns and seeing the clarity of the sky through a canopy of leaves, we can replenish our energies. The stillness in nature brings calm in us allowing the stressed portions of our brain to relax. This results in the release of positive hormones in the body.
Slowly, the weight of worries, sadness and anger leaves your shoulder. The depressed and anxious mind finds some relief in the abundance of nature. It’s the smell of the mud and the trees, the texture of the wood and the leaves, everything around oozes positivity.
The scientific aspect
The efficacy and benefits of Forest Bathing are proved through scientific reasonings. Relaxing in the lap of nature is one of the best stress busters. Studies suggest visiting nature can be beneficial in reducing both physical and psychological stress levels.
Forest bathing is also known to boost immunity that can lessen the healthcare burden. It is now advised by doctors to spend time in forests or parts or in the wild to boost recovery from injury, surgery or any mental trauma.
Certain trees in the outdoors emit oils and compounds that are good for our immunity. Thus, breathing in forest air boosts the levels of natural killer cells in the blood. These are the cells that fight against infections, cancers and tumours.
Nature casts a positive effect on our mind and body. It sets the functioning of our organs in sync. It improves heart and lung health. Enhances focus, concentration and memory. Many studies quote that a connection to nature can lead to enhancement in emotional intelligence and self-confidence.
These changes in the physical and mental health of a person lead the way to improved relationships and better social health.
Summing up the Benefits
- Forest Baths can ward off the negativity of anger, anxiousness and sadness.
- It increases self-worth and confidence.
- This is one of the best natural stress-busting tools.
- Forest baths can also increase immunity and protect the organs against damages.
- It prevents mental diseases caused by stress.
- This simple ritual can enhance sleep and treat insomnia.
- It promotes inner peace and happiness.
- Forest baths improve concentration, memory and performance
Forest Bathing – An Ayurvedic Doctor’s version!
Ayurveda believes the key to unleashing the power of the forest lies in the five senses of our body. Listen to the sounds of the birds chirping and leaves rustling. Look at the different shades of green and the changing colours of the clouds. Let the fragrance of the leaves, flowers and mud fill your lungs. Taste the freshness of the air. Feel the touch of leaves and trunk. Feel the grass or the damp soil with your feet.
Submerge in nature and let nature sink in!
In this age of the internet, where everyone is distracted, devoid of purpose and yet burnt out, spending a few minutes in the silence of trees can be healing. It can be the ‘free-of-cost’ solution to the rising incidences of anxiety and stress, depression and loneliness.
For reaping the benefits of this ritual, you don’t need a wild forest filled with snakes and spiders. You can visit your near-by park or any place that has trees and gives a clear view of the sky. Sit there for a few minutes away from the cries of the city and let nature wrap you with a protective shield.