Shinrin-Yoku: That sounds a bit like a mixture of Shirin David and yoga. But it has neither to do with rap music nor with sport – but more to do with relaxation. The English word for shinrin-yoku is “forest bathing”. But swimming is only symbolic here. How to do this and what effect it has on our well-being, we show here briefly and concisely.
Shinrin-Yoku – Immerse into the forest
The story behind
The origin and thus the name come from Japan: in1982, the Ministry of Forestry encouraged people to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the forest in their free time. This should reduce stress and promote a healthy lifestyle. Illnesses caused by work stress, such as burn-out, are increasingly the reason for absenteeism in many companies. Studies have shown that staying in the countryside counteracts this and even lowers blood pressure and pulse. In this way, the work can be tackled through sufficiently long rest breaks.
And why all this?
This is not only due to the fresh air and exercise. (By the way, the forest air is proven to be much cleaner and even more germ-free in coniferous forests!) Many people visit the forest because of what is not there: time stress, modern technology, social demands or sensory overload. Depending on personal experience, some “forest bathers” also speak of a retreat where you can break out of everyday life and reflect.
What distinguishes forest bathing from a forest walk? The mindfulness. Shinrin-yoku isn’t about running as much as possible or having been to a lot of places. On the contrary:
Forest bathing means slowing down, letting yourself drift, switching off and looking closely at the same time. Discover the many small miracles and enjoy them, staying in the moment. Exercises such as conscious breathing and smelling the forest air, listening to the forest or walking barefoot help to let the forest have an effect on you.
Forest Bathing Courses
Those who are interested can attend courses with forest bathing trainers, who will accompany the experience with tips and exercises. The offer ranges from several hours to a whole weekend. In Erlangen at the Meilwald, for example, there is an institution that offers Shinrin-Yoku courses for groups – right on the outskirts of the city. We wish you a good rest!
Just go to a forest in your area. Run in aimlessly until you feel that the forest fully encloses you. Then give your individual senses a chance: close your eyes. Do you hear the stressful everyday noise in the distance or just the biophony? Now try it the other way around. Put on earplugs and focus on the visual. Which tree has the most interesting bark? Do trees in the crown fight for their place in the sun or do they give way to the other trees? Discover the details with mindfulness, then you will see how positively overwhelming such a piece of forest can be.
Biophony: all sounds made by non-human living beings.