Whatever the weather, when you have a dog, they need walking. Our beloved Boris was no exception. Come rain or shine his enthusiastic wagging tail meant just one thing – quality time with our canine boy!
The Covid-19 lockdown of 2020 and a period of Furlough meant our walks got longer and more frequent. Struggling with the impact of a difficult job, threat of redundancy and the crazy world that surrounded the pandemic, I became aware that the more time I spent out in nature, the better I would feel. The love of our furry friend and seeing the pleasure he got when we where out in the fresh air and rolling fields surrounding my hometown, brought great solace in an otherwise stressful world.
As I wandered in the countryside that I am lucky to live close to,
I began to notice the breadth of colour, the depth of texture and the array of smells that existed. I would find myself lost in my senses, drinking the beauty that was before me. All the time my buddy Boris was by my side, foraging, sniffing and exploring! My love for the natural world was growing and I knew that it was helping me cope in difficult times.
At the same time, I was turning to the internet and reaping the benefit of the array of online webinars and support mechanisms that were emerging through the months of restrictions and social constraints. One big help for me was the online mindfulness forums, support groups and audios that helped me to escape into the present moment and leave behind my worries, albeit for a short time. I noticed I was becoming more mindful when out and about in nature on my walks with Mr B.
As a qualified trainer, I have always felt the huge rewards from helping other people to learn new things and grow their confidence. I realised that I could combine two of my passions, mindfulness and helping others. Having always advocated self-care and wellbeing in my teaching, the next step became obvious, and I formally trained as a Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher. Not being content with guiding clients and starting Mindful Meditation classes in my local town, I went a step further. As a trained Forest Bathing Guide, I am able to lead others in the art of mindfulness in nature. Boris would be so proud!
Forest Bathing is the English translation of the Japanese term Shinrin Yoku. According to The Forest Bathing Institute, it means ‘spending time, under the canopy of trees, in [nature] for health and wellbeing purposes’. Forest Bathing involves walking slowly through woodland, parks, or forest, connecting to nature through all five senses. Research in Japan and more recently in the UK has identifies many benefits from Forest Bathing. These include:
o Reduced blood pressure
o Lower Stress
o Improved cardiovascular and metabolic health
o Lower blood sugar levels
o Improved concentration and memory
o Easing depression and enhanced mood
o Improving pain threshold
o Improved energy levels
o Boosting the immune system with an increase in the count of the body’s natural killer (NK) cells
o Increasing anti-cancer protein production
o Helping weight loss
Although we have had to say our goodbyes to our wonderful soul mate of twelve years, Boris will live on in our memories and I know he will be by my side as I spend time with other mindfulness enthusiast in nature.
To find out more about my Forest Bathing sessions, other nature connection services, mindfulness & meditation or training workshops & self development click on the buttons below: