Shinrin-yoku is the Japanese term meaning "to bathe in the forest." Slow down, de-stress and feel the restorative effects of connecting with nature in a new way.
About Forest Bathing
Originating in Japan, the practice of Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, has been well studied over the last several decades. Forest Therapy is a research-based framework based off the principles of Shinrin-yoku. Forest Therapy is essentially a way of opening up the senses to create a deeper connection with the natural world. Studies in Japan have shown numerous health and wellness benefits from these experiences, including lowering cortisol (stress) levels, improving cognitive function and boosting the immune system.
What Happens on a Forest Bathing Walk?
Forest bathing walks are not like a typical hike or naturalist walk. There is no destination and no agenda. These walks are usually a mile or less in length, over fairly flat terrain. One of the appeals of forest therapy is how accessible the practice is to people of all fitness levels, ages and abilities. Each walk lasts between 2 - 2.5 hours. As your guide, I will offer you a series of invitations, which are meant truly as that - an invitation to open up your senses and become deeply immersed in your surroundings. The invitations are designed to help participants slow down and be more mindful in nature, creating a deep connection with yourself, other people and the more than human world.
Why Walk with a Trained Guide?
Just as many people choose to do a yoga with a certified instructor, there are many benefits to doing forest bathing with a trained guide. I am being trained as a certified guide with the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy Guides and Programs (ANFT). Connecting with nature is not a new concept and can be done many ways, but the practice of forest therapy has an intentional flow and sequence. Being with a guide helps slow you down and keep your mind in the present moment, something many people find challenging on their own. The guide customizes the invitations to each trail and group, offering a new and inspiring experience for each walk. Guides also have a familiarity with the trails and select locations based on qualities that lend themselves well to the practice of forest bathing - going with a guide takes the planning off your shoulders. Guides are also trained to provide a safe and non-judgemental space for people to share and connect with one another, as well as with the natural world.
About Your Guide
Jaime Kopke is training to become a certified Forest Therapy Guide by the Association of Forest and Nature Therapy Guides and Programs (ANFT). She has worked designing public programs at museums and libraries for almost a decade, and is also a practicing artist, focusing on work that intertwines the boundaries between people and the natural world. In her years spent producing public programs, she has seen a deep desire from people to re-connect - with one another, their passions, but also with something bigger than themselves. Forest therapy provides a doorway for people to tap into a greater sense of being - through nature connection emerges cultural repair.