You've probably heard me talk a lot about Forest Bathing over the last year or two and maybe seen the ads for my walking events. So what do we actually do on a Forest Bathing session? Read on to find out!
What is Forest Bathing?
Forest Bathing is the practice of immersing yourself in nature, using your senses to connect to your environment. There's no actual bath or swimming involved! When we go forest bathing we don't walk very far - it's not a hike, it's more of a mindful meander through the trees. Connecting to nature in this way is wonderful for our health and wellbeing - I think it's the most enjoyable form of self care there is!
During these sessions nature and I work together as a team; she is the therapist and I am the guide.
What happens on a session?
Each walk is different. I like to host seasonal walks so that we can really notice what's happening in nature at certain times of year. But walks are different even from one week to the next because I'll mix up the activities I suggest, change the route or the location and be guided by the group itself. Having said that, there are several things that happen each time and there's a rough structure to the sessions.
During the session you'll be invited to....
Connect to your senses
Be in the present moment
Get out of your head and into your body
Notice small details
Take in the bigger picture
As your guide I will offer you a series of invitations (meaning you don't have to do them if you don't want!) to help you with the above. These are mindful activities designed with a particular purpose in mind, e.g. tuning into your sense of touch. What we do on the session will depend on the season, the location and if there's a particular purpose to the walk.
Example invitation: find somewhere peaceful to sit. Take a few moments to settle into your spot and take some slow, deep breaths. Then, as you sit, notice what is in motion around you.
Each forest bathing session with me involves a tea ceremony, usually at the end of the walk. This is nothing formal, it's simply enjoying some herbal tea together in a beautiful setting. I like to set up the tea things so it looks inviting and special - I often bring flowers or herbs from my garden or collect leaves along the way to decorate the space. This brings in the 5th sense of taste and allows us another opportunity to pause and relax. We often reflect on our favourite parts of the walk and share experiences as a group.
Finally, I like to wrap up our session with either a short meditation or poem - sometimes both! We might leave a gift for the forest, make some nature art or simply say thank you to the trees as we leave. It can be hard to say goodbye sometimes! But this is always a good thing as people have been reminded how good they feel when they connect to nature.
All sorts of people come on my Forest Bathing sessions; students, retirees, couples, friends, families, employees, single parents and professionals. Nature is for everybody! I've even had some reluctant participants (usually brought along by a partner!) who weren't sure what to expect, but I'm pleased to say everyone has left with something positive to say. The most common feedback I hear is that people felt very calm and relaxed afterwards, however it's not unusual to hear that people saying they feel energised, inspired and grateful. We know from the research that spending 2 hours in nature is really good for our health and that the benefits last for quite some time after the session.
If you'd like to try a Forest Bathing session yourself, there are a few options for you:
Book a private session, either a 1-2-1 or for you and a friend/partner or as a family
Organise a wellbeing in nature session for your workplace
Come to one of my events for the public, advertised on my events page. Sign up to my newsletter (see top of events page) to be notified about upcoming walks. I tend to run 2 or 3 a season and they can sell out so do get booked on if you fancy it!
If you have any questions about suitability, accessibility or anything at all please get in touch email@example.com. This is also how you book a private session.
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks" - John Muir