“Naturally our ancestors and indigenous cultures have been forest bathing since the beginning. But in today’s society people are so busy and under a lot of pressure and stress; some simply have forgotten and lost touch with the healing power of nature,” says Lisa Curran – Forest Therapist.
Forest Bathing or Shinrin Yoku as it’s known in Japan, where it originated, is a wellness practise that immerses us in the forest atmosphere. This practice has proven to enhance wellbeing, relieve stress, boost creativity, encourage relaxation and deepen our relationship with nature and each other. It is a gentle practise, slowing down to the pace of the forest helping to cultivate a more mindful state of being Scientifically proven to decrease anxiety, stress levels and lower blood pressure, it also can also boost our immune system and increase our creative, mental and physical energy.
The practise begins with a guided nature meditation to awaken the senses through a series of experiences with the natural world: Listening to the forest soundscape, noticing textures, smells, sights and breathing in the forest air, to help ground us in the here and now. This is followed by a series of invitations, guided and unguided, allowing space for your own journey. The walk finishes with a lovely tea ceremony using local foraged plants from the forest.
“‘I can go to the forest for a walk anytime, why do I need a guide?’ is the main question people ask,” says Lisa. “Of course you can, but for a lot of people while they are out in the woods their mind is still racing and they are thinking about all the things they have to do afterwards or tomorrow’s plans; what’s for dinner, what the kids need etc. Some find it hard to quiet the mind, be still and be truly present in the moment. This is why a guide is helpful.” The forest therapist works in partnership with the forest to create the best conditions for growth and healing, making every walk unique. The forest is the real therapist and the guide simply opens the doors.
Lisa holds monthly Forest Bathing walks in Glengarriff Nature Reserve and is the resident Forest Therapist for the luxurious Glengarriff Lodge, where she also hosts Forest Bathing and Forest Therapy Retreats. She is also available for private groups. Lisa is a fully accredited Forest Bathing practitioner and Forest Therapist after completing her six-month training with the Forest Therapy Institute.
“When we are still in nature, something magical happens. The beauty of this practise is in its simplicity and suitability for everyone. It helps people to remember their own personal connection with nature, so they can empower themselves and increase their own health and wellbeing whenever they need to,” says Lisa Curran.
“I am looking forward to sharing this wonderful practise in West Cork and beyond.”
Lisa’s next walk is on March 1. For bookings and more information on Forest Bathing, Forest Therapy and Retreats check out Glengarriffforesttherapy.ie.