Forest Bathing as a Spa Day for the Soul


Think back: when was the last time you were completely surrounded by nature? Was it a while ago? Was it too long ago?

The Japanese concept of shinrin-yoku (森林浴), which literally translates to “forest bathing,” is the practice of spending - critically, undistracted - time in the forest. It is about being present and re-establishing a connection with the natural world as a tool for mindfulness.

What forest bathing is NOT is a workout. The purpose isn’t to hike for miles or reach a specific destination. Although physical practices have their place in our overall wellness, the purpose of forest bathing is quite the opposite of activation. Use it to practice stillness.

Studies have proven the numerous health benefits of spending more time in nature. We don’t have to tell you that, but in practice, forest bathing can be easily overlooked by those who aren’t fortunate enough to have immediate access to natural spaces (Chicago, where we’re from, is gorgeous in a million ways but is not exactly known for its lush natural tapestry. And no, unfortunately, street medians don’t count. Sorry!). But that makes it all the more important to be deliberate about seeking out the opportunity! And for those of us who do live more closely to nature - this is your reminder to take advantage of it!

So, next time you make your trip into the trees, try for yourself to practice the mindfulness that comes with forest bathing:


Lie down.

Notice the swaying of the leaves, the rustling of the trees.

Bring awareness to the sounds of nature.

Consider practicing a grounding exercise to help pull your focus back to the environment. Call attention to five things you can see, four things you can physically feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. 

Be still.


Consider finding answers to whatever is on your mind by practicing ‘talking to the trees’. Try it the next time you’re stumped about something and see what comes through for you! 


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