How are you spending Earth Day? Are you honoring our great Mother Earth? I went Forest Bathing, have you ever done this before?
Before I found this Earth Day event, I had never heard of Forest Bathing but I've definitely done something similar in my many walks through parks and on trails throughout my life without knowing there was a name for it.
As I learned today, Forest Bathing originated in Japan in the 80's. It is a mindful walking practice where you move through focusing on your different senses while taking in your surroundings.
We began with sight, As we traversed the trail full of pinecones, roots, and half buried rocks, we looked down at our feet but also up and around at the many tall trees. We then tuned into sound, listening to our steps crunching the branches and leaves, the birds singing above us, the little waterfall on our left. We made our way up a pretty big hill where all I heard for a few minutes was my heavy breathing (I really need to move more) but when we reached the clearing we moved to smell. It had rained overnight and the ground was a bit damp so you could smell the soil, we started there but quickly moved to the birch trees. All you have to do is scratch a bit of a branch with your nail or rub a leaf to smell birch beer. We kept hiking into a clearing where we were encouraged to experience touch. We began in mountain pose, taking 3 collective deep breaths then exploring the space. Our guide encouraged us to touch everything, even the dirt! She talked about microbes in the forest floor that boost our serotonin, isn't nature incredible? There were various types of trees in this area, each with a different type of bark. I stood, placing my hands on the tree just breathing, connecting with each tree and all of their wisdom and experience. The rest of the world completely fell away. As we began our way toward the end of the trail, we moved into the final sense, taste. Growing wild was onion grass and garlic mustard. Garlic mustard is an invasive species so our guide assured us not to feel badly about eating it. We snacked on some leaves and took a minute for gratitude at the end of our hike.
I am so excited to have learned a new way to be mindful when walking/hiking and can't wait to get back out onto a trail to do it again.
What do you think, will you try forest bathing next time you're on a hike? Tell me in the comments below, while you're there, tell me how you honored Gaia today. Is it something you'll keep doing? How about vegan meals? Did you have any? Will you?