I think we all feel quite exhausted these days. Do you know what helps me to get my energy back? The forest! To be more precise, “Forest Bathing”.
I LOVE spending time in the woods. I used to go to the forest by myself when I had stress at work or didn’t feel good. Now, as a mom, I take the little one out there nearly every day. Did you know that the air in the forest can stimulate our immune system? And that spending time in the forest reduces our stress level? That is scientifically proven and quite awesome, don’t you think?! 🙂
Some of you know that I am not only a blogger and journalist but that I am also a forest bathing coach and author of hiking books (in German tough…). And this spring I think it is time for all of us to get out there, to find our energy and raise our good mood! We really need it after such a long, hard and lonely winter.
On April 18 I will guide an English Forest Bathing course in Stuttgart-Degerloch. Meeting point is Haus des Waldes. The course will start at 2 pm and we will be in the woods for 4 hours. I will talk about the forest air and all the positive effects the forest has on us humans (it is really fascinating, guys!:-)). If you want to find out more or book the course visit vhs-stuttgart.de. Of course, it depends on the covid situation in April, if the course can run or not.
If you speak German and are interested in a Forest Bathing (“Waldbaden”) course: I offer courses in German on April 11 in Leinfelden-Echterdingen and on April 17 in Stuttgart Degerloch. And – new new new 🙂 – I will start an online based course on Mach 28. This one will be unaffected by any future lockdowns. It will run for four weeks with one virtual group meeting every Sunday where I tell you all about forest bathing and introduce you to the different techniques. Then you can decided yourself when you want to go to the forest. In the next online meeting we will talk about your experiences and I will introduce you to the next set of techniques. This course will be held in German only at the moment but if you are interested in a future online based forest bathing course in English, drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
“What is forest bathing?” you ask now? Let me explain…
What is Forest Bathing?
The term forest bathing stems from the Japanese term “Shinrin Yoku” which translates to “bathing in the forest air.” Japanese scientists have studied the forest air and its healthy benefits for humans for the last 30 years and they came to some very interesting findings. How Terpenes, aromatic organic compounds that are released by trees when they are attached by predators effect our immune system for example. Or that being in the forest can reduce our stress level significantly. Or how just looking at a green scenery can reduce pain…. I could go on forever because there are so many fascinating findings. I will talk more about them in my courses.
The main idea of forest bathing is that you go into the woods and benefit from its positive effects on you. You benefit from the healthy forest air by just being in the woods already. If you want to focus on stress reduction, there are several techniques that help you do so. From focusing on your senses to walking slowly on the forest floor to becoming creative in and with the forest. You will be stunned by how much simple exercises effect your wellbeing and your level of energy.
The best part about forest bathing: It is super simple and sooo efficient. If you want to try it for yourself already you can do the following:
- Go into the nearest forest. Did you know that 24 percent of Stuttgart is covered with forest?! You should have one close to where you live, too.
- Leave the trail. For me, this is the most important step. It is that easy to dive into a new world, away from the stress and worries of everyday life. A few meters away from the trail you feel like you’re in the wilderness already.
- Find a place in the forest where you feel comfortable and sit down. Maybe on a tree trunk or simply on the ground.
- Close your eyes.
- Listen. Smell. Feel. Be.
- There is so much you can focus on. The sound of the birds. The smell of the forest air (healthy Terpenes, remember?! :-)), the wind on your cheeks. Focus on whatever feels good for you in this moment. For me, this is pure meditation.
- When you’re ready, open your eyes again and sit a bit longer in the forest. How do you feel now? Calmer than before? How is your mind? More relaxed?
- If you feel a positive effect of this mini forest bath already, start planing your next trip to the forest. The more often you can include it in your weekly routines, the bigger the effects on your immune system and stress level.
Let me know what you think of forest bathing! Have you heard of it before? Have you already tried it? And if you feel like it, visit one of my courses 🙂 It would be nice to meet you in the woods of Stuttgart or virtually! 🙂
urbantreehugger.de (only in German)