ALL ABOUT SHINRIN-YOKU
Shinrin-Yoku has been on our radar as of late, largely down to the arrival of Earl of East’s Shinrin-Yoku self-care range, but also because we are real suckers for cortisol lowering, stress-busting rituals.
Shinrin-Yoku is a Japanese ritual that translates into English as “forest bathing”. Before you start ripping off your clothes and attempt to submerge yourself in a muddy puddle in your local woods, it’s a lot simpler than you may think.
The calming concept of Shinrin-Yoku encourages you to fully embrace the outdoors and all that nature has to offer. It has been studied for its cortisol and blood pressure lowering effects, as well as helping to activate the parasympathetic (AKA rest and digest) nervous system.
Modern life, at least from where we’re standing, seems to favour fast tempos and productivity over mindful movement and rest. When you take time out to support the nervous system and your overall wellness, everything else becomes a little easier.
TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES
Seriously, it makes all the difference. Feeling the earth between your feet connects you to nature and is incredibly soothing. Many who practise grounding claim that negative ions transcend through the soles of the feet and up through the body, helping to soothe the nervous system and active a parasympathetic response.
Whilst walking barefoot in your local park may get you few funny looks, finding a quiet spot in the middle of your daily walk to move your shoes and feel the earth between your toes is an easy way to go about it. If you have access to a fresh lake or river that isn’t freezing, use it to your advantage too. Even stepping out barefoot in your back garden for five minutes each day can help you reap the benefits.
LEAVE YOUR PHONE BEHIND
Nothing disrupts your meditative moments quite like WhatsApp and email notifications. Leave your phone at home, or the very least, on aeroplane mode. Whilst listening to music, a Podcast or audiobook may be a form of relaxation, Shinrin-Yoku aims to fully embrace nature and its magic. You’ll want to hear the sounds of the forest or natural environment around you, it’s all part of the experience.
TAKE A MOMENT TO SIT
How often do you sit by yourself with no distractions to keep your mind and hands busy? Most likely, it’s not very often. One of the key takeaways and points to implement when it comes to forest bathing is the ability to sit peacefully amongst nature. Meditate for a moment, observe the trees and sounds that surround you.
Ideally, allow time to past without thinking about it. Have nothing in the diary to do as soon as you arrive home to avoid rushing the experience. Time shouldn’t be an influence on how you feel, something that is almost unheard of in today’s culture. When you do get home, take a moment to think and note down how you’re feeling and thinking.
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