It’s like slicing an onion only much, much better
by Evelyn Holtzhausen
In answer to questions people always ask, I am happy to confirm that you do keep your clothes on during a Shinrin Yoku ( Forest Bathing) experience.
And, fully clothed, you will emerge from the practice divested for a while of the anxieties, stresses and pressures of daily life as you absorb the benefits gained from slowing down, breathing fresh air and simply being present in the healing energy of a forest.
“It has been the most wonderful experience to stop, look and listen,” said one avid hiker after sharing a Forest Bathing Experience as our guest. “I am so used to striding along mountain trails, head down watching my feet and focussing on the destination that I am often hardly aware of where I am, never mind stopping to enjoy the view or even smell the fynbos.”
In Japan, “Shinrin Yoku” is considered to be similar to aromatherapy. Their scientific research has shown conclusively that visiting a forest for relaxation and recreation allows us to inhale immune-boosting volatile substances, called phytoncides (wood essential oils) that are released from trees.
This significantly increases your feeling of well- being and decreases levels of anxiety, depression, and anger.
As much as peeling an onion can bring tears to your eyes in response to a terpene effect so a forest bathing experience can and does, induce a sense of calm and well-being in response to absorbing these aromatic compounds
In Cape Town, yoga teacher and wellness therapy practitioner, Hilary Harker and I, a long-time mountain guide, take our guests on well-worn paths to quiet forest glades, and the soft banks of gently flowing forest steams to pause for a while, and quieten the spiralling mind.
It’s a gentle process that requires nothing more of our guests than they leave the baggage of life behind for a while and become human beings rather than human doings; where they allow the thoughts that pop into their heads, in quiet moments of reflection, to become birds that sing, rather than discordant cacophonies of stress.
It’s that simple; as your guides we create the environment, help you to calm your thoughts then give you permission to stop being responsible for everyone and everything all the time. We guide you to spaces of calm and gentle tranquility. And you will find that when you do stop, look and listen you will be rejuvenated by what you see, feel and hear.
“I so enjoyed our Forest Bathing experience. It came at a time when I needed time out for myself. It’s been a hard year for everyone. But living on my own without the stimulus of friends has been a challenge.
“Your guiding us through the forest and then stopping at intervals to be quiet and breathe in our surroundings was very nourishing. I felt so relaxed and in tune with the beautiful forest that I didn’t want to leave!” said Di, a guest of our experiences.
Written by Evelyn John Holtzhausen