Forest bathing is a term that came from Japan in the 1980’s, originally called Shinrin-Yoku (lit. “forest”, “bathing”), and it refers to a special type of forest immersion in which the participants attempt to be fully present in the moment while in the forest, allowing themselves to be permeated by the aromas, sounds, and the peaceful energies around them. The original purpose of this was to reduce stress levels of the Japanese people, but also to help them to be more content and happy.
This system of walking is based on a much more ancient spiritual tradition. In fact, many practitioners of practical spirituality have since the time immemorial used walks in nature to ground themselves in the moment and to discover deeper levels of their psyche. Another name for such way of walking is the mindfulness walk, with the difference that the latter can be done anywhere at any time, whereas the forest bathing, as the name suggests, can be done only in a forest/ natural environment.
The main part of such walk is to be present in the moment by having the senses active, so that the spiritual spark of us, the consciousness, is awake in the here and now. Walking in nature can facilitate this process greatly, enabling us to tap into our true essence with more ease, and to gradually discover the connection between internal and external worlds.