A walk in the forest or “forest bathing” is both a fitness exercise and a mindfulness practice.
The term shinrin-yoku emerged in the 1980s in Japan. The purpose was two-fold, to offer an anti-dote to technology and to inspire residents to reconnect with the country’s forests. There are places where you can take part in guided meditative excursions, or you can do as I do and just take yourself off to somewhere outside and walk.
Wonderful fragrant Jasmine - a pity you can smell the perfume.
After I had a heart attack last September, yes, it will be a year next week, I was tasked with improving my approach to my health and cardia health in particular. I decided right away that rather than approach a 3 times per week regime I would rather make the exercise a daily schedule.
So far this has been a successful. When you have a plan to walk Monday, Wednesday and Friday and when then it pours with rain on Wednesday and you don’t walk it’s all too easy to postpone. You discover later it’s been a week since you walked. You make a promise that you’ll start again on Monday, but Monday dawns and there’s something else you have to do so no walk happens.
If you walk every day, whether it’s raining, windy or very hot you don’t give yourself a chance to make excuses.
A huge bonus for me is that, living in Brisbane, there are many walking trails in the numerous bush reserves near my home. Each has a slightly different feel - some steep and challenging, some more easy going. Many are shady so even in the hot summer months there is somewhere to escape the sun.
A second big bonus is that there are so many beautiful sights to enjoy each time you venture out.
If you follow my Instagram you’ll see frequent photos from my daily walks - wonderful trees, shadows on the path, reflections in a stream - there’s something new each time.