Forest Bathing, Mindful walking and good old fashioned fresh air.....
The great outdoors and nature provides us with so much goodness and is accessible to us all free of charge. Whether you live in the countryside or a city, there is so much to see, feel, smell and touch! Just 10minutes a day can make a huge impact on your wellbeing. So, if in doubt…head out!
Our lives are busy and our minds are overrun with to do lists, decisions, thoughts and feelings. Well, I know mine can be anyway. Stepping outdoors for me is like pressing pause. I find it so refreshing and grounding. Whether I am walking, running, cycling or drinking my brew outside in the morning and watching the sunrise…the peace and calm that nature brings me are refreshing, nourishing and addictive.
This photo was taken on our morning walk at the foot of the Cuillin mountain range, Isle of Skye. This was an amazing start to our day!
Mindful walking is all about slowing down, connecting with the environment and awakening your senses. Stepping out of your busy mind and into the present moment. Taking the time to really look, smell, feel and taste (maybe…if it’s safe!), your surroundings. The next time you are out, try it for yourself, look at what colours you can see, notice the smells around you, listen to the different noises and touch a flower petal or tree bark!
This photo was taken on a walk in the Appletreewick, Yorkshire Dales
Walking through woodland can also be beneficial to our wellbeing and is called Forest Bathing.
Forest bathing is a Japanese practice which involves taking a short and gentle walk amongst the trees. Nothing strenuous or complicated, you are simply practising mindfulness in nature. You are encouraged to awaken your senses via a series of invitations including mindful walking, listening, breathing and observations.
Studies in Japan have shown that trees release essential wood oils called phytoncides which enhance immune markers and reduce stress hormones in people who regularly walked in specific forests in Japan. So, as well as good old fresh air, taking a walk amongst the trees has so much more to offer us which is why we include it in our workshops.
Faith Douglas from Forest Bathing UK and I deliver this element in our half and full day workshops and take in the surrounding environment of our beautiful venues.
I get so many people asking me, 'what is forest bathing?', 'Do I need to bring a swimsuit?', 'Will I be hugging a tree?'...and these questions are fair. The answers…no you don’t need a swimsuit and no you don’t have to hug a tree...unless you want to of course.
The aim of including a guided walk in our workshops is to encourage you to use the outdoors as one of your wellbeing tools. Its accessible, free and always there should you need 5 minutes to pull yourself together and calm your mind.
This photo was taken at the bottom of Ben Nevis, Fort William, Scotland. These boots have done me proud..and need a good polish!
Come along and try one of our walks. You never know you might be pleasantly surprised.
In the meantime, wrap up, get some sunshine and enjoy.
Lots of love, fresh air and Yorkshire Puddings