Sounds decadent, non? Even a little naughty. Really, it’s all about a walk in the park. In Japan they call it shinrin-yoku, the practice of spending a short, leisurely time in a forest setting and “taking it all in”. Everyone is familiar with the great feeling you have after a walk in a beautiful forest. Now science is backing this up with studies that show benefits include improved cognition (important for stressed out brains like mine), enhanced immune function, lower stress hormones and lower blood pressure. And in a country like Canada, where parks are abundant, there’s no excuse not to indulge in a little forest bathing yourself.
Luckily, I happen to have my own forest nearby. Well, it’s not mine really – I think it actually belongs to the city of Toronto, but they don’t seem to mind my bathing in it. I was introduced to this forest by my yoga friend, Andrea, who featured prominently in my yoga disaster day (read all about it here). Anyway, she shared her forest with me, and also my yoga friend Nicole. So there may be lots of yoga ladies hanging around if you go there to take your bath. But no worries, yoga ladies are usually pretty cool.
I have been visiting my forest lately and feeling all kinds of good. Walking under the beautiful tree canopy and looking out over the forest floor always leaves me feeling restored and refreshed. If you want to check it out, just park at the Glen Rouge Camp Ground and hit the Mast or Riverside Trails. And don’t mind the other bathers.