Forest bathing: how to do
If you are a newcomer to this practice, you will probably obtain the maximum benefits starting with guided experiences. The guiding approaches can be substantially different, and maybe you can experiment more than one. Some can be rather interventionist, tending to orientate you someway. In reality, the more useful approach is probably a non-prescriptive one, simply helping to use your senses to establish your personal connection and dialogue with the environment: this is the best way by which you coul achieve a sense of deep connection and subsequent appreciation of sharing with others.
Forest bathing “walks” are mostly short. You will not therefore need any particular equipment, apart from comfortable clothing, adequate to season. Having a hat and insect repellant is always advisable, such as a sun screen cream. You may bring a small amount of water, also depending on place. Put everything into a small back pack, avoiding hand held or shoulder bags, that will impede you.
If you are not yet acquainted to “stay in nature”, yoi could also think of bringing a mat to sit on the ground: it may be a not wrong idea, if it is comfortable for you, especially sitting on humid ground, or in presence of thorns and acute stones. However, remember that your scope is a full connection with nature, that can be hampered by a mat, that will for sure obstacle your moving around.
The development of a typical guided experience proceeds with “invitations” given by your facilitator, or “guide”. The first invitations are aimed at helping the participants to establish a deep and intimate connection to the natural world; or, better, at entering in a different space from the usual routine, often referred to as “liminal”, or transition space; this condition should be then maintained throughout the experience.
The subsequent invitations do not prescibe to do any specific activity, rather representing thematic suggestions, to which everybody will respond by means of personal interpretation. These invitations will vary according to the conductor’s sensibility, specific circumstances, the environment and kind of participants.
A forest bathing session is generally ended with a moment of sharing experiences, that may vary according to the facilitator’s background and experience. The aim is to allow participants, if they wish, to summarise their experience and, at the end, exit from the “liminal space” to return, let’s say, to ordinary world.
A forest bathing experience can be compared to a workout session: at the end, we return to a baseline but, each time, having gained something. As with workouts, an adequate frequency of practice is the way to avoid losing your progresses, starting each time from an improved condition. The difference is that we are not training muscles, but our inner status and mood.