Forest bathing

Being stuck inside getting you (and your kids) down? Take them out for a spot of forest bathing and reconnect with nature.

First embraced in Japanese culture in the 1980s, forest bathing has swept the world. At its core, forest bathing is about spending concentrated time among the trees, soaking up the nature and connecting with the Earth. Don’t worry about the name of this practice — we’re really just going out into nature and soaking it up in a concentrated way. Look for a place with as many trees as possible; parks, hiking trails, and forests are all great places.

Find as quiet a spot in nature as possible, and locate or create a comfortable place to sit. Spend a few minutes simply breathing deeply and feeling what it is like to be where you are. As you start to unwind, begin to slowly pay attention to the following things:

* What sounds do you hear?
* What smells are making their way into your awareness?
* Notice the way the air feels: The temperature, the texture, the movement.
* Look around. What do you see? What is moving? What is staying still? What colours and shapes do you see? What is the quality of the light?
* Touch something. How does it feel? Is it squishy, scratchy, crumbly, or something else?
* At the beginning and again at the end of the practice, ask yourself: How does your body feel?
* What is your breathing like? What is your mind doing?

Spend a few minutes, at least, noticing each individual sense. Try to spend the whole hour just soaking it in (although any amount of time will benefit you). This practice is not about movement; it’s about stillness and awareness. Let those qualities in. If you want to move, feel free to wander aimlessly but slowly, touching the trees and other things around you, and continually checking in with your senses. This isn’t about exercise, but about connecting deeply to the natural world we live in.

Relax, and enjoy Mother Nature!

Extracted with permission from Eff This! Meditation: 108 Tips, Tricks, and Ideas for When You’re Stressed Out, Anxious, or Overwhelmed, by Liza Kindred (Quarto RRP$27.99).

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