Last week, my girlfriend and I spent some time in one of my favorite natural environments – a Redwood forest, in Henry Cowell State Park near Santa Cruz, California.
Although I have enjoyed playing in the woods since I was a small boy, I first learned that there was an official term, and some deep science, behind the practice of immersing ourselves in a forest – Forest Bathing, from Brian Johnson of Optimize.me. Brian shared how we can optimize the health benefits of our morning walk or run by choosing the route through the woods.
Apparently the Japanese have a name for Tree Bathing as well: Shinrin Yoku. The practice even became part of a national health program in Japan in 1982. The intention is to bathe your physical cells and your psyche in the essence of the forest, practicing mindfulness through deep listening (to the sounds of nature), relaxation, and conscious breathing.