Here is how to Forest Bathe by yourself. Forest bathing is not exactly hiking. It does not involve bathing nor swimming in the forest either, but it is rather an act of actually spending time in the forest to take it all in – the sight of greenery, the sound of chirping birds, the aroma of essential oil from the trees, the taste of the air and the feelings of the dirt beneath your feet and the tree trunks on your palms.
Having said the above, forest bathing does not always have to be done in the forest. You will still enjoy its wonderful health benefits even if you practice in a local park or in your own backyard. The same tips below are still applicable.
Tip #1 Walk Slowly and Aimlessly
The first tip on how to forest bathe is it is not about speed, nor it is about the destination. Unlike hiking which most of us are used do, the goal of forest bathing is not to go anywhere, but to just “be” in the forest. Move very slowly, touch the trees, look at colors and patterns, and breath deeply. It is amazingly relaxing just to lie down under trees and look up through the branches.
Tip #2 Breathe and Stay Present
Focus your breath on every step that you take. When you walk slowly as recommended above, you will find it a little easier to stay present. Inhale as you lift your foot and exhale as you step forward, then repeat on the other side. It is also a great idea to try to go alone, if you know the trail well and that it is safe. Being alone allow you to limit your conversation and spend time looking inward. If you have a forest bathing partner, make sure you agree to not disturb each other for awhile.
Here is how to do 2-minute TMT Breath® in the forest to increase your energy level.
Tip #3 Connect All Your Senses
During the 3-hour forest bathing trip, offered in Kyoto, Japan, we hike through the forest easily accessible from Kyoto city and many famous temples and shrines. We find a flat area to lie down. Participants are encouraged to have a full awareness of their surrounding while lying down with their eyes closed or opened, and use all their senses to perceive what is going on around them. It is also recommended to remove their shoes. The video below shows this simple awareness exercise in the forest. Turn on the sound and increase the volume to hear nature.
Tip #4 Digital Detox
Here is a vital piece of information on how to forest bathe by yourself. Do not bring your digital device with you. You may experience boredom, especially if you are on your own and not used to having no external stimulation. Here is all your need to know about Digital Detox and why it is good for you.
The time in the forest in best spent without any interruption from any digital devices, including digital watch. Our busy modern lives do not allow us to do this so frequently. We are always on and there are dangers of being always connected, physically and mentally. It has become harder and harder to disconnect from this grid of talking, picture taking, messaging and buying.
We all know that we grab our phones, only meaning to quickly check our messages or the weather forecast, but then finding that we have spent the last thirty minutes perusing Instagram pictures or posting the pictures from the forest bathing session on Facebook, right in the forest! A mindless waste of a few minutes leads to a few hours.
On our Forest Bathing training, we ask that participants leave their phones behind. Disconnecting every now and then during the day is proven to improve well-being, focus and productivity, which is the desired outcome of these tours. These participants go back with refreshed minds, laser-sharp focus and they are able to benefit from increased calmness, all responsible for improved productivity.
Tip #5 Sit, Stay and Do Absolutely Nothing
For many people, sitting and doing nothing is outright impossible. We tend to fill our days with things to do and there seems to be no downtime, but downtime can be beneficial in many different ways. One very important aspect of mental health and well-being is simply allowing the mind to do nothing. It is in this process of not being busy that one is free to contemplate, meditate, recharge and generally appreciate the world around them. It allows us to gather thoughts, gain perspective and relieve stress. A certain amount of doing nothing is essential to a happy, fulfilled life.
Other creative ways to spend time in nature
The Definitive Guide to Shinrin Yoku Training
On this page you will find comprehensive information on how to become a certified guide and instructor, how to choose the right institution, the career path of certified Shinrin Yoku guide ad instructor, the health benefits of Shinrin Yoku, how to forest bathe by yourself, how to design a Shinrin Yoku trips or retreats, how to create a business around the idea of Shinrin Yoku and more.