By: Nina Smiley, Ph.D., Director of Mindfulness Programming, Mohonk Mountain House
Letting thoughts go and being immersed in nature helps calm, center, and heal both body and mind, and recent research suggests that this is true scientifically. Forest bathing invites you to refresh and renew, to see both outer and inner worlds with new eyes.
What is Forest Bathing?
Developed in Japan in the 1980s, forest bathing has become a cornerstone of preventive healthcare and healing in Japanese medicine. It’s a fully clothed walk in nature, a translation from the Japanese term “shinrin-yoku.” This immersion in the forest is a total experience of the senses.
It’s more than simply hiking. Being “mindful”—fully present in the moment in a gentle, nonjudgmental way—clears the mind of thoughts and opens your senses, allowing you to unplug in a deep and healing way.
Studies are exploring the effect of time outdoors on blood pressure, stress, mood, and the immune system, noting that the presence of phytoncides (antimicrobial oils emitted by trees and plants) appear to bolster the immune system.
“Forest bathing invites you to refresh and renew, to see both outer and inner worlds with new eyes.”
Forest bathing is not a walk to get in the miles for exercise. It’s an experience that invites you to refresh and renew, to see both outer and inner worlds with new eyes. I like to say it’s an outdoor experience that creates inner space.
Forest Bathing at Mohonk
Here at Mohonk Mountain House, our outdoor programs have included guided nature hikes since our earliest days, often led by Smiley family members, including founder Albert Smiley. In recent years, we have woven the thread of mindfulness into these excursions, offering the essence of “forest bathing” before even encountering the term.
We have 85 miles of trails at Mohonk, and you can step outside at any time to experience the healing power of nature by simply taking some deep gentle breaths and being fully connected with your senses as you take a slow, mindful stroll. Or, you can book a private “Forest Bathing” walk to enjoy a guided experience in our spectacular setting.
My new book, Mindfulness in Nature, co-authored with David Harp, will soon be available in the Mohonk Gift Shop and our online store, offering simple and effective suggestions of how to bring mindfulness in nature into your own life, wherever you are.
Nina offers private sessions to help you manage stress in your daily life. Book a private session with Nina during your stay at Mohonk Mountain House by calling .
About the Author
Nina Smiley, Ph.D. is co-author of The Three Minute Meditator and the CD, Mini-Meditations That Will Enhance Your Life. Nina’s work has been seen in O, The Oprah Magazine, Shape, Real Simple, and Marie Claire. In her work at Mohonk Mountain House, Nina leads group programs and private classes that teach and share simple techniques related to mindfulness, wellness, and stress reduction that can be used anytime and any place—one moment at a time.
Book a private session with Nina during your stay at Mohonk Mountain House »