This bank holiday weekend I spent 3 days in Gisburn Forest learning and what a fabulous 3 days it was! The British summer finally decided to make an appearance, bang on que, and the 12 strangers I was learning with were a delight.
On paper I was learning to be a Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing) Practitioner. In practice, I was learning to be a child in nature – to be inquisitive, to play, to explore, to forget everything else that’s going on in life and most of all to connect to the forest and the delights it wanted to show me.
I will add a page to the website about Shinrin Yoku over the next few weeks but in short, Shinrin Yoku means forest bath or shower and it’s about immersing yourself in the forest and all it has to offer. It has positive effects on both physical and mental health and the effects last for longer than your time in the forest.
It is also about changing our attitude to nature and, like our ancestors before us, understanding it’s power and appreciating all it has to offer – food, shelter, healing, awe, to name but a few. If we remember that we are part of nature rather than above it and that we need to give as well as take, we might start considering our actions more carefully and making healthy choices for the planet as well as ourselves – and that is the only way we’re going to combat climate change.
I have a lot of work to do now to complete my practitioner course and the first thing I need to do is really get to know my local woods so that I’m prepared to lead Forest Bathing Walks in them. So tonight I’m going to take advantage of the continuing good weather and take my other half off to the woods for a forest bath and picnic to start my explorations.