I initially enrolled in this Shinrin Yoku certification course as a distraction from breast cancer treatments and the continued uncertainties of the ongoing pandemic. I received so much more than that. I am filled with gratitude for the gained knowledge and skill, as well as my boost in confidence as a Shinrin Yoku guide. I learned much from Milena, the classmates, and those who joined me to share a Forest Bathing practice as I completed the fieldwork sessions.
1. My vision of how I would like to utilize the certification includes both employment opportunities and personal shared experiences. I envision establishing a valuable Forest Bathing practice where values and principles are maintained, shared, and practiced mindfully, and nature’s benefits are unique to each participant.
2. I have learned so much about myself throughout the duration of this course. I have learned to release my fear of the first impression syndrome. A syndrome I fear not being able to repeat the first impression session. I now know that each experience is a first time for both myself and those who join me. That nature is ever changing and what we see and welcome in is also changing. I also learned that nature welcomes me as I am and I can bloom my authentic self while in nature. I am open to receiving all messages nature has to share with me. As I offered the fieldwork sessions I noticed my confidence building and I am open to experience each session as it naturally unfolds. I also noticed another transition…at first I had felt more uncomfortable offering practices with friends than with strangers as I feared judgement or comparison from one session to another from friends. As one friend mentioned that each experience is a first time I released this fear and now feel very comfortable sharing practices with friends as well as people I am meeting for the very first time. I am one with nature. I am Be….Being Present, Being Me.
3. Some of my most enjoyable moments included hearing of other’s experiences from all over the world (volcano bathing and digging a hole to avoid the winds and cold temperatures to the many modalities classmates shared to offer along with their Forest Bathing practices), the fieldwork practice sessions where I welcomed so much self-growth and confidence along with other self-discovery moments, and I also enjoyed creating the video for one of the assignments.
4. My achievements throughout the course included embracing more of my authentic self and confidence, exploring a variety of locations, weather conditions, and creating a variety of themes for Shinrin Yoku practices, along with gaining knowledge and skill from the course material and classmates. I even noticed myself becoming more relaxed and confident during the class sessions. I gave this course my focus and attention and put in the effort to learn and grow through the course class sessions and homework assignments. I certainly expanded my comfort zone by offering a practice in the rain, many practices with friends, group sessions of two to four attendees, and a practice with someone I had never met. I also explored new locations to offer Forest Bathing including a group virtual practice. The class time and assignments fostered business aspects, as well as personal learning and growth.
5. I welcome celebrating my achievements by receiving the Shinrin Yoku Certification and spending time expressing gratitude for all the many gifts and benefits nature offers me on the ongoing bases. Because of my bond with nature I was called to explore Shinrin Yoku and I discovered The Mindful Tourist while searching for trainings. I celebrate because of you and with you … The Mindful Tourist and Nature. I will continue to celebrate this achievement by continuing to offer practices and sharing time in nature with myself, groups, and 1:1 practices as well.
6. I would like to express gratitude to The Mindful Tourist organization, Milena, and the classmates during the summer 2021 Level One Guide session for all the shared experiences and knowledge, the variety of modalities to include during a Forest Bathing offering, the connections formed, the learning and growing I did because of the course, and for all the resources provided. All of the above enhanced the course both academically as well as socially. Thank you…thank you…thank you.
Heidi has played among the trees and wildlife since she was a very young child. The woods offered her a safe canopy, protection, and a place to hide and play. The woods welcomed Heidi as she was and offered her a home filled with peace and joy when her actual homes were in turmoil. She would often be seen reading a book as she was held by the branch she sat upon up in a tree. She would collect fallen twigs and create crafts with them and grass strands and other natural items found on the floor of the Earth. One of her fondest memories was cooking up a batch of nature’s chicken soup utilizing rotting wood to represent chicken, and other items she found as the veggies in the soup. Little did Heidi realize that there were scientific reasons why she felt so good physically, mentally, and emotionally while in the forests and out in nature.
Heidi’s educational background is in early childhood education and special education and she enjoys sharing her passion and connection to nature with children of all ages, from infants to senior children (a focus on the inner child within each of us). Heidi has worked with children in a variety of ways for over 20 years from being a head teacher at preschools, a special education para, and also ran her own home preschool program while her son was young where she incorporated nature into the curriculum. She has one son whom she has explored many locations out in nature together which has fostered their shared connection to each other as well as to nature.
Heidi was introduced to Shinrin Yoku (Forest Bathing) by Deron Drumm, the co-founder of Toivo, where Heidi has been employed since 2017. Sadly Deron passed away and in his honor and memory, and also as a distraction from breast cancer treatments and the ongoing uncertainties of the Covid pandemic, Heidi attended The Mindful Tourist’s Shinrin Yoku Guide Certification course in the summer of 2021. Heidi welcomed in knowledge as well as confidence and an eagerness to share Shinrin Yoku practices with all who welcome the shared experience in nature to deepen their own connection with nature.
Heidi utilizes her intuitive skills along with her own deep connection to nature to incorporate themes into the Shinrin Yoku practices she offers. Some of the themes she has created include: Moving with Nature, Connecting to Nature’s Splendor (Colors), Nature’s Art, The Wisdom of the Trees, and Connecting to Nature with our Senses. Heidi enjoys each unique session she offers and is grateful to be both a guide and a student as she continues to grow, learn, and welcome wellness throughout each of her offerings.