Forest Bathing, Los Angeles.

Forest Bathing.

“Inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin Yoku, Forest Bathing has been scientifically proven to boost immune strength, reduce stress, and improve cognitive functioning. But beyond these physiological changes, Forest Bathing also offers us the opportunity to deepen our relationship with the natural world. By slowing down and carefully observing with all our senses, we may begin to notice incredible things that may have eluded us for our whole lives. In escaping the rapid pace of our daily routines, we may find unparalleled beauty in the moment and in doing so, relax into the beauty all around us.”

This was the blurb from the Los Angeles Arboretum. An exceptionally beautiful area of forests and parks just outside of LA. One of the more low key TBD After Dark events, it was nonetheless an interesting and worthwhile exercise. More about Forest Bathing can be found here but essentially a guide takes a group on a guided meditation through a quiet forest and each individual is given a number of solo, reflective, assignments to reconnect with nature, and themselves.

We had a great guide but in full disclosure, it veered a little too close to Absolutely Fabulous territory. Especially Season 3, Episode 6 when Edina is told she cannot contribute to the group unless she is holding the “talking stick”. Fact: a talking stick appeared during our Forest Bathing exercise. I could not quite shake the image of Edina Monsoon beyond that point.

The benefits of meditation are many, and there is now considerable science behind it to underline how those benefits can impact one’s mental and physical health However, my suggestion after experiencing a guided Forest Bathing exercise is to find a great mediation app (I recommend Headspace) and simply go to a quiet forest by yourself and listen to your favorite meditation session. Connect with your surroundings. Be quiet. Take time. Reflect. And refresh. No talking sticks required.

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