Updated: Aug 17, 2021
August 18, 2021
Shinrin-Yoku, Forest Bathing Walk (Montreal)
Forest bathing, founded on the Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku - is a form of therapy where people connect with natural environments exploring ways to see, sense, feel, and experience our animate surroundings in new ways, and perhaps forge new or strengthened connections with our earth, ourselves, and one another.
Roots of Forest Therapy
Forest therapy is based on the Japanese practice of Shinrin-Yoku – which translates as "forest bathing". Shinrin-Yoku began in Japan in the early 1980's as a response to the high levels of stress and overwork in the population, and was supported by the emergence of scientific literature at the time about the therapeutic and stress-relieving benefits of spending time in nature. It has become a well-established and proven preventative health and wellness practice in Japan – with over 60 designated forest bathing trails – and has spread and evolved all over the world. The influence of Buddhism and Shintoism - Japan’s two major religions - are alive within the practice, such as considering the forests as mystical places, and seeing and believing in the animacy of the natural world. That is, that all life on earth is indeed living, sentient, possesses its own kind of intelligence, and should be respected and engaged with in right relationship.
What is Forest Therapy?
Forest therapy lies at the intersection of science, medicine, philosophy, ecopsychology*, and indigenous ways of relating to the natural world (more on that below), and is firmly rooted in what we know to be intrinsically true within us - of our place and belonging within the web of life.
As the forest heals us, we come to develop a deep bond and connection with the forest, and from that love and care, we are more likely to be a caretaker of it and of the natural world. After all, as Jacques Cousteau so famously stated, “people protect what they love”.
In an accelerating, chaotic, and ever-changing world, this grounding and life-affirming work is deeply needed, especially in urban contexts, where the rift between humans and the more-than-human world can be acutely felt.
“To not allow otherness to bar the door to kinship, curiosity, and imagination. There is a bridge and it is made by the gift of attention. ”
— DAVID HASKELL
Our first event of this series
To learn more about the elements of this practice for your own walks, we are introducing forest bathing in our Wednesday Wellness series with a walk in Montréal with Sophie, a forest bathing guide from @softearth.foresttherapy on Wednesday, August 18 10am - 1pm
This first walk will be a slow and immersive experience in nature, centred on experiencing your surroundings, the beings therein, the elements, and the present moment in numerous ways. It is in natural environments that our nervous systems, minds, and bodies can truly rest and be restored. We invite you to experience these benefits in perhaps a different way.
All are invited to join in this activity.
Contact us by DM or at email@example.com to reserve a space for this event, to organize a walk with us in your community, or to learn more about ecotherapy.
Source: Our first walk of this series will be facilitated by our community partner, Soft Earth Forest Therapy www.softearthforesttherapy.com .
No prior experience or knowledge is required, simply an open mind and good footwear.
The duration will be 3 hours. Due to Covid-19 there will be a maximum of 8 participants and social distancing will be maintained for its duration.
Attendees may provide a contribution of $20-40 directly to the guide from Soft Earth Forest Therapy. Please message us if the cost presents a barrier for you, no one will be turned away for lack of funds and we will assist you.
If you wish to help facilitate or support this wellness series in your community, please contact us to volunteer.
Donations to the Greenhound Foundation to support the development of this series can be made at https://www.greenhoundmtl.ca/donation