Forest Bathing

Ever since my granddaughter was born, she’s loved the out-of-doors. When nothing else would calm her, walking out in the yard would stop the fussing. Her mom and I developed “stroller naps” when no amount of rocking or crying it out would produce the needed down time.

Anne and June in the gardenEven when winter came, standing with her at a window where she could see trees, birds and squirrels quieted her. She loves watching them at the feeders in our yard, even as a toddler. The other day my garden coach and I were in the yard when June came over. She brushed leaves from the little new leaves emerging, and sat on the edge of the deck with us as we made plans for spring cleaning and planting.

When I get my undies in a twist, just walking outside begins the unwinding. It takes me back to my roots. I can take a deep breath again. Without even having to work at it.

Forest bathing or Shinrin-Yoku is a relatively new mindfulness technique. According to Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, MD, it is a prescription for general good health. Indeed, as I was looking for information to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, I found that going outdoors boosts your immune system.

Bleeding Heart at the Des Moines Botanical GardenSince we’re holding the Central Iowa Yoga Retreat at the Des Moines Botanical Garden, we’re able to offer three Forest Bathing sessions in the afternoon. The sessions will include guided meditation, sensory activities, and time to just be still in nature. Even if we need to stay inside, we’ll have the tropics and desert all around us!

No matter where you are today, walk outside. Breathe the fresh air. Touch the earth. Pick up a handful of soil. See how you feel.

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One Reply to “Forest Bathing”

  1. Dear Martha, walking in your yard is indeed a healing and calming activity. I so loved hanging out with June with her stubby little legs running from plant to plant as she gently moved leaves aside. A special day indeed, and there will be more!

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