Connecting with Nature through Forest Bathing
by Kate Szetela, Manager, Adjunct Faculty Support
At this point in the academic calendar, most everyone is working at an intense pace and looking forward to a much-deserved break. Thankfully, nature is in full bloom right now and just walking outside on campus offers a chance to take in the beautiful colors, scents, and textures. In Japan, many practice “shinrin-yoku” or forest bathing. It is simply being in nature, connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.
I had the opportunity to attend a forest bathing workshop where a guide curates the experience and it was magical. At one point, in the spirit of wabi-sabi, we were encouraged to find something imperfect and search for the beauty.
However, it isn’t necessary to have a guide. Dr. Qing Li, author of Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness offers these tips:
Let nature enter through your ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands, and feet.
Listen to the birds singing and the breeze rustling in the trees.
Look at the different greens of the trees and the sunlight filtering through the branches.
Smell the fragrance of the trees and breath the natural aromatherapy.
Taste the freshness of the air as you take deep breaths.
Place your hands on the trunk of a tree.
Dip your fingers or toes in a stream.
Whether you have only a few minutes or hours, give yourself the gift of being present to the beauty that nature generously and unconditionally provides.