free guided meditation below
We are sentient beings and our connection to the natural world is embedded in the deepest level of our being, biologically and spiritually. A study sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency finds that the average American spends 93% of their time indoors, surrounded by unnatural light, harmful chemicals and a lack of fresh air. As an antidote, many people are embracing a form of eco-therapy known as "forest bathing" which emerged in Japan in the 1980s to ease tech-boom burnout and to inspire people to protect the country’s forests. The Japanese government has funded the development of forty eight official Forrest Therapy Trails. In Japan forest bathing is known as "shinrin-yoku," or taking in the forest through your senses.
Forest bathing is a respected therapeutic in Japan for relieving stress, depression and anxiety as well as for improving sleep and recovery from illness. Numerous studies have shown that the practice of nature bathing can boost immunity and decrease inflammation. The practice is also associated with a decreased risk of cancer and heart attacks.
You can revitalize yourself in nature no matter where you live, even if there are no forests nearby. Can you visit a peaceful pond or even a flowing fountain? Seventy percent of the earth's surface is comprised of water and so is seventy percent of our bodies, including our hearts and brains. When we're near water this deep biological connection is triggered, inducing a flood of neurochemicals that promote relaxation and wellbeing.
At any moment you can restore yourself with the healing power of nature through your five senses. Close your eyes and quiet your mind with mindful breathing. Enjoy listening to the wind and the song of birds. Breathe in the fragrance of plant life around you. Visually appreciate the intricate beauty of a tree, the easy flow of moving water, or the infinite vastness of the sky. Touch and feel the many textures of nature. Rest in the present moment and experience the state of "multidimensional welcoming," that spiritual teacher Jean Klein taught as a direct path of enlightenment.
Regularly reconnecting with the natural world can restore our personal well-being and inspire us to appreciate and care for all beings who share the planet with us. Enjoy the free guided meditation below for a Nature Bathing experience.
"There is one living being." Plato
"We need a real awakening, enlightenment, to change our way of thinking and seeing things. Breathe in and be aware you are the Earth. Your consciousness is also the consciousness of the Earth.” Thich Nhat Hanh
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"People don’t want to know the meaning of life. They want to know the feeling of being alive." Joseph Campbell
Images by Hollye Hurst
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