Mindfulness Forest Bathing at Hever Castle

September 15 2023 | What's on

When people hear the term for the first time they might commonly picture someone in a swimsuit awkwardly making their way through a forest to go for a chilly swim.

Forest Bathing, however, uses the term more poetically and means to bathe or take in the atmosphere of Nature and invite your surroundings in through all of your senses.

If you love spending time in the Great Outdoors, it’s very likely you’ve already been practising Forest Bathing in small ways. Perhaps pausing to breathe in a beautiful view, appreciating birdsong or observing the calming flow of water in a stream

However, without the intention behind Forest Bathing, it can become all too easy to be distracted away from those special moments by phones, podcasts, conversations and responsibilities. The moment is swallowed up by the world of doing and the busy mind reclaims the reigns.

When you go on a Forest Bathing journey you minimise all of that and find yourself walking with Nature and not just in Nature. You create intentional space and time for yourself and bring Nature fully into your experience as your sole walking companion, using your senses as allies to anchor you into the present moment.

At its core, Forest bathing is a mindfulness-based practice of walking slowly with attention and pausing plenty to fully connect with the environment around you. The more attention you can offer, the less attention is available for overthinking and all the other usual distractions. Your senses amplify the experience because they plug you into what is happening and unfolding in the here and now and the more present you are, the more benefits you can to expect receive.

Those benefits include reduced heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels. All signs of a stressed nervous system which can be the cause of many physical and mental health issues including anxiety, back pain, depression, fatigue, chronic pain and autoimmune illnesses.

Another study carried out in Japan, where the name Forest Bathing derives from (translated from the Japanese term ‘Shinrin Yoku’) revealed the practice also provides a wonderful boost to our immune systems from breathing in microscopic particles emitted from the trees called phytoncides which can increase humans Natural Killer Cells (the cells we need to fight off bugs, viruses and other illnesses).

Pretty impressive results from very simple and slow time spent in Nature, but when we consider that the human species began its existence living directly in Nature then it makes total sense that human bodies respond in positive ways when placed back in the environment they evolved to exist in.

If you are interested to try Forest Bathing then why not join professional guide Tansy Dowman at our beautiful private woodland space on the Hever Castle estate.

Sun 3rd Sep, 9:30am – 12:30pm / Forest Bathing & Qigong – SOLD OUT

Sat 7th Oct, 9:30am – 12:30pm / Forest Bathing & Qigong – SOLD OUT

Weds 18th Oct, 10am – 2pm / Forest Bathing & Mindful Photography

Sat 4th Nov, 10am – 1pm / Forest Bathing & Firepit Circle