More than a Walk in the Woods

More Than a Walk in the Woods
by Alexandra Malloy, Sierra magazine

Naturalist and Sierra Club founder John Muir once said that in every walk with nature, one receives far more than he or she seeks. Mounting interest in the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, which translates literally to “taking in the forest atmosphere,” or “forest bathing,” would seem to indicate that people are increasingly taking Muir’s sentiment to heart.

In 1982, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries officially coined the practice of going to the forest to soak in the sights, sounds, and smells as “forest bathing.” The inspiration was Shinto, a religion based specifically around devotion to the landscape of the Pacific island nation, as well as the principle that spirits are embodied in nature. The practice of forest bathing has since taken off in Japan; today, the ministry actively operates 62 (and counting) designated forest therapy bases—forested areas whose relaxing effects “have been observed based on scientific analysis conducted by a forest medical expert—and roads, or similarly sanctioned walking paths.

The idea is simple: In order to take in the forest atmosphere, one must simply visit a natural area and reap the restorative benefits. Yes, even looking at a forest environment can provide health benefits.

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Thank you very much for Sierra Magazine and their writers for giving us the permission to share their article with our followers. This article once again reflects our philosophy and what we offer, and so well describes our daily experiences in our forest – guests, visitors and staff. One of our activities are Mindful and Healing walks in the forests – which are also included in our Yoga and Mindfulness retreats, where you can feel this unicity with forest and life. 

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