Little did I know that I was reaping the many health benefits of being in nature starting at a very young age. There were many scientific reasons why I felt the most joy and peacefulness while out in nature, not only was it the fact that I was escaping my abusers and turmoil in the households I resided in. I have been Forest Bathing for many years, practically all my life, decades before I even learned of the term Shinrin Yoku.
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.
Being in nature is a much different concept than participating with nature. As humans, it can be easy to see the forest and nature as resources solely for our use and consumption. When thinking about creating a connection to nature and developing pro-nature attitudes, the mindset changes.
With The Mindful Tourist, Milena and I made a pledge to focus on our purpose and passion (for us and our team), value and inspiration (for our students/clients), sustainability and inclusion (for the environment and the community) and we agreed never to make business-related decisions based on financial reasons.
Here is what I remember on the day I practiced Forest Bathing in Japan for the first time. I didn’t know what Forest Bathing was then. But in retrospect, all my senses and whole being were engaged. I was paying attention to the details and I was savoring the moments.
What does success and happiness look like to you? “Define success on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and build a life you're proud to live.” Anne Sweeney
Letting go of the need to be right is a foundation to recognize issues that impede personal growth and hinder relationships. “I practiced 60-minute Power Yoga "Detox" Class with Travis Eliot today and I found so much wisdom in his words, on top of a great practice as usual. I did not complete the entire 60 minutes because I have been out of practice and just couldn't last the whole duration, but it was a really good practice regardless. At the very beginning of the video, there is a mention of “letting go”. And the key takeaway from this for me is to let go of the need to be right.” That was the first paragraph of an apology letter to my partner. I will not get into details of our argument, but you get the picture.
I want to share my personal story with you. Many students on our Forest Bathing certification training program know that I work in hospitality. 2020 was the worst year for our industry and many people lost their jobs. That includes me. Along with many employees, I was made redundant by the beautiful wellness retreat I had worked at, due to plummeting number of international travelers normally visited our resorts. It started with an extended mandatory vacation leave to reduce the financial obligations for the company, and eventually we were all let go in December 2020.
The Mindful Business - Your Achievements, Habits, Goals and Ikigai. In week 14 of your TMT Shinrin Yoku training, we discuss your past achievements, the habits or system you have that contributed to those achievements, your life goal and what hinders you to reach your ikigai or life purpose.
We intuitively know that spending time in nature in good for us. When we slow down, stop the busywork, and take in beautiful natural surroundings, not only do we feel restored, but our mental performance improves too. Critics often scoff that research about the Shinrin Yoku practice is lacking. However, there is growing scientific evidence that getting outside in a natural setting strengthens mind-body connection and, therefore, is good for health.