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Journey Through Life With the Wisdom of the Forest

Expectation vs. Intention: A Participant's Experience in Shinrin Yoku Session or Forest Bathing Session

As a participant in a Shinrin Yoku session or Forest Bathing session, navigating the delicate balance between expectation and intention can make the difference between a fulfilling or disappointing experience. But what do these terms mean, and how do they impact the forest bathing journey?

Expectation: The Participant’s Outlook

Definition: Expectation is a preconceived belief or assumption about what will happen during a Shinrin Yoku session, such as specific feelings, insights, or benefits.

Positive Impact:

  • Guiding the Journey: Expectations can provide motivation and direction, aligning the participant’s focus.
  • Enhancing Engagement: A positive expectation can increase excitement and commitment to the process.

Negative Impact:

  • Hindering Experience: Fixed or unrealistic expectations may lead to dissatisfaction if not met.
  • Guide’s Influence: A guide’s expectations may inadvertently affect the participant’s experience, limiting their freedom to connect authentically with nature.

Scientific Insight: Expectation management has been found crucial in various therapeutic settings, impacting satisfaction and outcomes (Constantino et al., 2011).

Intention: The Heart of the Journey

Definition: Intention refers to a conscious commitment to a desired quality or way of being during the session, such as openness, curiosity, or connection.

Positive Impact:

  • Deepening Connection: Setting a personal intention aligns the participant’s mindset with the unique experience of the forest.
  • Facilitating Presence: Intention encourages mindfulness, enabling a more profound connection to the present moment and natural surroundings.

Scientific Insight: Research supports the use of intention-setting in mindfulness practices, linking it to increased awareness and well-being (Chittaro & Vianello, 2016).

The Interplay Between Guide and Participant

Sometimes, the expectations of the forest bathing guide may inadvertently impact the participant’s experience:

  • Influencing Perceptions: A guide’s strong expectations may shape the participant’s views, either positively or negatively.
  • Limiting Authenticity: A participant may feel pressured to conform to the guide’s expectations, hindering a genuine connection with nature.

Finding the Balance: Tips for Participants

  1. Clarify Expectations: Discuss expectations with the guide before the session to ensure alignment and understanding.
  2. Set Personal Intentions: Choose an intention that resonates with you, focusing on how you wish to engage with the forest.
  3. Embrace Flexibility: Allow the experience to unfold naturally, releasing rigid expectations.
  4. Reflect and Share: Share your experiences and reflections with the guide, fostering a more personalized experience.


For a participant in a Shinrin Yoku session, understanding and balancing expectation and intention can significantly influence the experience’s quality. Emphasizing intention over rigid expectations and maintaining open communication with the guide can create a richer, more authentic connection with nature.


Venture on a memorable path with our 10-week Shinrin Yoku Guide Training program accredited by Shinrin Yoku Association . This journey merges the accessibility of online learning with an enriching immersion in the serene forests of Japan. 🌳🇯🇵

Embark on your online adventure with flexible scheduling (GMT-3, Argentina Time) 🖥️🌐:
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(More dates available online!)

Continue your transformative journey with a 5-day retreat nestled in the peaceful woodlands of Nara, Japan 🏞️🎑:
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