Taking in the forest with all the Senses

In my preparation for trail ultras, I would spent hours training in the forest trail on weekends. There is something magical about running or hiking in the forest that leaves you refreshed and renewed. The nature makes you feel good.

The Japanese is known to practice something called shinrin-yoku. Shinrin means “forest,” and yoku means “bath.” So shinrin-yoku literally means bathing in the forest atmosphere, or taking in the forest through our senses. Shinrin-yoku however, is not exercising. It is simply being in and connecting with nature through the senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.

There is power in the forest and the way to unlock it is through our senses. Experience the nature not only with your eyes, but through your ears, nose, hands and feet.

I love the freshness of the air when I take deep breaths. The different colours and shapes of the foliage and plants are visually pleasing. You can smell the fragrance of the forest and listen to the breeze rustling the leaves of the trees. I would touch the trunk of big trees, walk on streams and dip in waterfalls if there is one.

In my trainings on forest trails, I have not forgotten to slow down and smell the roses so to speak. I take forest bathing in every sense of the word. Connecting with the nature is a way I derive happiness. Work can be busy and raising two boys only makes it more hectic. That is why I find it important to get outside and into the jungle whenever I can.

Spending time in the forest clears my mind. It is the time I get in touch with myself and reflect on my shortcomings and areas that I can improve on. I read that it also reduces my blood pressure and cortisol levels which in turns produces calming effect. No wonder I feel better after spending some time in the woods.  

You can find lots of studies on the therapeutic benefits of forest bathing which include:

  • Improving Impunity
  • Reducing stress
  • Lowering blood sugar
  • Diminishing pain
  • Increasing concentration

In this post I am sharing some of my favourite memories captured in the forest.

Blanket of trees amidst a beautiful sunset
Cumulus clouds spreading across the mountain range
You can see the Earth curvature afar
View of a valley with a river running across
A different kind of hike on a tea plantation
The locals claim this is the largest tree in the country
Always happy to meet a big majestic tree
Standing tall with the noble trees
So much joy in this multi-tiered waterfall
A friendly waterfall with a waist deep pool
Best shower you can get
This beauty is less than an hour hike from the city fringe
Amazing breeze from this tall and slender fall
Celebrating at the top of a waterfall
Having some fun by the forest lake
Taking a break on high ground
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