First an announcement for the Dutch readers.
13 januari, 3 februari, 24 februari, 17 maart, 7 april, 5 mei, 26 mei, 16 juni, 7 juli en 28 juli bos-baden met Paul’s Buitencoaching.
Meer informatie: Paul’s Buitencoaching
In 8 steps starting with forrest bathing.
From Your Guide to Forrest Bathing: Experience the Healing Power of Nature, door M. Amos Clifford, founder of the Association of Nature and Forrest Therapy Guides and Programs.
Step 1: Find a guide in your area
You have already made this step by reading further. Any promotion for Paul’s Buitencoaching can not hurt, right? A guide helps you to get started with the basics of forest baths, so you can build a strong personal experience in forest baths. It is surprising how the coach helps you get started in a group. Forest bathing is very simple, but it is often very complicated to slow down and come to your senses.
That is it! Slow down, feel, smell, hear and watch. Becoming one with nature.
Every participant experiences the forest differently. You can share that in the group, but you do not have to so. As a coach and companion of the forest baths I have explored the path and always know an abbreviation to the start. At the start, the path to follow depends on the time that the participants need. Still like to try it? Walking dates 2019!
If you prefer to do only a forest bath then read the following 7 steps.
Step 2: Learn these general guidelines
- Work with the forest as a partner. If you open yourself to the forest, it will have a positive effect on you.
- Keep your attention in the embodiment and sensory experiences. Do not think this further.
- Limit your effort to achieve something.
- Ideally, your walks will last between 2 and 4 hours. This is enough time to slow down your mind and body to relax.
- You will not go far. It is about being there and not about coming and going.
- Your basic attitude is not to get a ‘workout’. It is more playing time with a meditative experience. If you experience that you have started a ‘workout’ anyway, take a short break. Standing still won’t hurt. Then you continue your journey delayed.
- The best is forest bathing in a natural environment, ideally in a wooded area, with water flows and minimal disturbance of human sounds such as traffic. In the bustle of the Netherlands, a forest that is as peaceful as possible is the highest possible.
- The path must be accessible and easy to walk.
- Go ‘unplugged’, without technical barriers between your senses and the forest.
- Do not be tempted by concepts such as mindfulness or walking meditation, where you are tempted to achieve something other than what the forest has to offer.
- Do not let that what others feel or what science has researched being leading to experience. No. Let every walk be a new experience. Try to avoid that you will only create positive experiences.
Step 3: Find a suitable place for forrest bathing
Close to home. To develop an appropriate and consistent form of forest baths, start exploring trails near home so that it is easy to go back to that place as often as possible in every season.
An ease-full trail. Find a trail that is easy and pleasant to walk with as little training challenge as possible.
Seating opportunities. Ideally there would be nice places where you can sit to rest with an acceptable level of loneliness. You can also take a foldable chair with you.
Access to natural waterways. Ideally, there should be at least one place where you can enjoy a natural waterway.
Mix of experiences. Pay attention to forest paths that show open landscapes at the edges. Often you find the most diversity there. You can also take a forest bath on the beach, desert and any other natural setting.
Natural sounds. The ideal sounds are natural sounds like flowing brooks, wind in the trees, singing birds, and so on.
Step 4: Arrive
Arriving means no more than simply arriving at the beginning of the path. This means to notice things:
- The place where you are. If you are standing in one place, look around and say aloud what you notice on this spot. Do this until you feel that you are in a deeper presence from where you are now.
- Your body. Notice your body. Feel how you stand. Pick up a stone, about the size of an apple, and move it slowly in your hands. As you do this, check if you can feel the movements in your muscles, tendons or bones.
- Tune in to your senses. Your senses are the links with the forest. Just stand for about 15 minutes and connect your senses. It can help if you close your eyes. First, feel the sensations on your skin. Take enough time to develop the experience of something that was not there before. Then you go to hearing. Try to hear the quietest sound in the neighborhood and the sound that is furthest away. For example, a singing bird. Then open your mouth and take a slightly louder breath. Just as loud that you take in the sound of the breath in the sound of the forest. Let this combination of sounds reduce your distance to the forest. If you continue to breathe, notice the flavors of inhaled air. Then you breathe through your nose and discover as many different scents as possible. Finally, open your eyes again and let the forest show you something you have never seen before. As if you are new.
Step 5: Walk slowly
Walk in silence for about 15 minutes, observing what moves in the forest.
There is always movement, even when it seems to be perfectly quiet. Observe a spider web that dances in the wind, trees moving in the breeze, birds flying by, squirrels walking along branches, grasses that bend or insects that move. Little streams that constantly change their forms and observe that. There is also so much movement within you.
The inner movement will not be able to prevent you from mirroring the movement of the world around you and vice versa. The gentle sound of a breeze will be reflected in you and will calm you down. Your tranquility will catch the squirrels and birds will no longer run for you.
If your attention is diminished or you feel agitated, stop completely and bring your attention back to something close by noticing how it moves.
Step 6: Make friends with the forrest
Notice which tree, stone, flower or other being requires the most attention from you. Approach it with kindness. Greet it by introducing yourself. Offer it your friendship.
As a friend you also take time to listen to it. Notice what presents itself in your imagination, the way the natural world impresses you. Perhaps a flood of pictures, memories, physical sensations. New ideas will present themselves and as if it were a kind of conversation of a new friend. Tell what you receive.
Speak and listen. Let your friendship mature in the rich field of imagination, until you feel that the conversation is complete.
Thank your new friend and continue your walk.
Step 7. Sitting Spot
Sitting is a simple but powerful exercise. It is one of the best methods to become one with nature, supports healing, cultivates the presence of yourself and others and deepens the relationship with more than just the people world. When this is done in combination with forest baths, sitting is an exercise in an exercise.
A common experience is experiencing the slow disclosure of the world. The longer you are, the more you notice. You can sit down for 15 minutes until you notice that the small flowers grow in front of you. It may take longer than 15 minutes before a curious fox raises his nose out of the bushes to catch the smell of a man who behaves unusually. An inner silence will also arise in the relative silence. If that happens, other attendees will react in the neighborhood by making themselves more familiar. Let it arise.
20 minutes is a nice minimum time to sit.
Step 8: Give Back
Reciprocity increases the presence of the many ways in which we can make a connection with the more than human world. It supports the development of relationships. Hold on to the exercise of reciprocity of giving and taking in all your forest-bath expressions. You can do this anytime, anywhere and at any time by following this method:
- Notice what things exist around you. Whether you speak in silence or quietly, notice what you have received from it.
- Find something to sacrifice. It may even be a song. Maybe you write a note and leave it so that only the earth can read it. Give it time to get inspiration.
Learn to do this during every forest-bath moment and activities. It helps you to deepen your understanding of your relationship with all things.
The beauty of forest bathing is that you can start it again at any time of the day.