The Earth has music for those who listen.
Shinrin in Japanese means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” So together- shinrin-yoku means forest bathing or immersing ourselves and our senses through nature. Since yesterday was Earth Day, this is the perfect time to talk about placing ourselves in nature.
Study after study has proven that taking time out in nature lowers blood pressure, decreases stress and anxiety, increases clarity, allows us to better digest our food, strengthens our immune system, puts us in a better mood, the benefits just go on and on. Yet Covid and this never-ending quarantine has encouraged us to stay in the house more than ever rather than go outside to enjoy the beauty of nature. One would think, that since we are aware of all the benefits that being out in nature has on our body and our nervous system, we would find ourselves pulled more to these activities.
What are the activities in nature that you take part in that make you feel rested and recharged? I know for me, walking on the beach and listening to the waves crash on the surf invigorates me. On the other hand, walking alone on a trail in silence and simply listening to the crunching of nature under my feet is its own meditation.
Our interaction with nature has infinite possibilities. Perhaps you meet nature while walking barefoot as you water the flowers in your garden. Maybe you find yourself feeling in touch with nature as you take a bike ride on your nearest bike trail. Where is it that you are engaging with nature best? Is it listening to the sound of the wind? Taking in the beauty of the colors of the leaves and flowers around you on a spring day? Do you adore the feeling of the ground beneath your feet as you walk barefoot in the sand on the beach or squishing your toes in the grass? Do you enjoy being able to taste the salt in the air as you walk near the ocean? Have you ever taken a walk through the woods on a damp day and smelled the damp earth beneath you? You can have truly sensory experience with mother nature when you choose to be present with her and your own body. And when you respect the experience as a whole it becomes a meditation.
As with everything else, we need to make time for these moments. So, while Earth Day is a beautiful reminder for us to submerge ourselves in nature, it is not the only time we should give ourselves this gift. Schedule regular times throughout the week to get outdoors in nature. You might want to take note how you feel after you’ve been outdoors as well. Journal about it. You may just notice some of the benefits! I'd love to hear about your nature walk.....