I was recently asked to comment on a few questions for an article in Sheer Luxe online magazine regarding the following;
What is Forest Therapy? Who is it for? Why bother? and How to begin?
You can read the full article here.
They were responding to the recent positive public response to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden ‘Back to Nature‘ co-designed by HRH the Duchess of Cambridge and Davies White Ltd and somewhat inspired by Kate’s connection to forest therapy.
The garden centred around the wonders of nature, childhood play and engagement of senses. All of which are known to help with creativity, positive mood and overall wellbeing. The benefits of spending time in nature support strongly the mental health awareness messages the Duchess and Princes William and Harry have brought to the forefront of conversation in recent times.
Don’t have time to go outside?
This is understandable, particularly at work, but we are often so stressed and would benefit from the micro-pause to reset and feel better. Perhaps it’s not the time aspect, perhaps we are reluctant because we do not believe it will help our mood or any ongoing stressful situation we may be currently experiencing. However, by taking a moment in nature we often feel grounded with more perspective, focused, with a more positive mood and the data backs this up. So by taking the micro-pause we could be saving time in the long run, while relieving anxiety and boosting calm.
But why try a forest therapy experience?
Well, why not? I believe we always need to try something new, at least once? But seriously, why not, it is a very gentle experience. One with few boundaries, and no expectations. It is not purely a walk in the woods, it is a very slow wander, where time and destination release their hold from the participants. It’s a space where you can notice your senses within your body and how they interact with the body of nature around you. With a trained guide you will be invited to interact with the land with your senses, allowing space for a light, reciprocal connection with the land to develop, if you so wish.
It’s a space where regardless of age you might feel like playing, or notice your curiosity soar. You might be struck with wonder and awe, or indeed find solitude and respite. Whatever you need, the forest tends to know. The guide is there to open the door to this space and to ease the transition throughout the experience.
Of course you can forest bathe alone, and experience the many benefits nature has to offer.
I just know myself, I need someone to guide me through a practice, I am much more in flow when I don’t have to think, and go back into my head, about what might I do next to ‘experience’ this place. Once in my head, I am back in rumination, thinking about what’s next on the list and how much time I have to do it. Having a guide there, like a yoga instructor, allows me permission to fully be there, in my practice.
What are the benefits?
There are so many known and reported benefits to connecting with nature that to make it easier I have created a free ebook which helps explain some of them, along with the science to back it up. The book also acts as a sign post to some really good further resources and offers 10 easy ways to welcome more nature into our everyday lives. You can download it here.
If you want to try out a forest therapy experience as an individual you can join a public session, but it’s also great for groups of work teams, friends, colleagues, students or rehabilitation clubs, to list a few.
I use a number of beautiful locations in and around Hertfordshire and I am always on the look out for more collaborations. If you want to learn more, check out Forest therapy here and feel free to reach out to connect. For dates of next walks I use my social platforms and mailing list, so feel free to hop on board.