Shinrin Yoku (translated as forest bathing) is a practice developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of Japanese preventative healthcare. Researchers primarily in Japan and South Korea have established a robust body of scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time under the canopy of a living forest. Now their research is helping to establish shinrin-yoku and forest therapy throughout the world.
The idea is simple: if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved.
Claire De Boursac runs these relaxing and restorative sessions combining meditation, mindful awareness and nature-therapy practices, which take place in enchanting and healing woodlands in North London. Claire also holds occasional sessions in other London spaces and in nature reserves outside the city.
As a psychotherapist and a Walk for Health leader Claire knows all to well that the stresses and strains of a busy urban life can take its toll on our mental and physical wellbeing. She believes that in order to thrive in the city, we need to find balance and to care for and nurture ourselves. Her sessions in nature help us do just that.
Claire’s sessions are gentle and restorative. She guides ‘bathers’ through some simple activities, carefully designed to help quieten the mind, awaken the senses, soothe the nervous system and create a sense of calm and receptivity. From this place a deeper sense of connection to self and to the natural world is possible. As well as relaxation and pleasure, participants often report a deep sense of belonging, acceptance and safety while ‘bathing’.
I am passionate about increasing wellbeing, joy and connection to self and I offer sessions and workshops to facilitate this. Many of these include working with nature who I believe can be a supportive and wise teacher, says Claire.
What happens during Shinrin Yoku session?
The sessions start and finish with a short check-in. The rest of the time we’re out in the woods connecting with nature through a series of simple exercises. We always begin with awakening our senses so we can fully take in the world around us. Each session is diferent as I vary the exercises according to the group and the weather. Typically there will be some walking, some sitting meditation and some grounding.
What people have said about Forest Bathing sessions with Claire
“I so enjoyed walking through such wild and enchanting woods in the middle of London… Everything slowed down and I reconnected with parts of myself that everyday stresses had pushed away for far too long. A massage for the senses, a massage for the soul…”
“Claire’s gentle, calm and holding guidance allowed me to feel safe enough to explore parts of my inner landscape in a very direct and powerful way”
“A beautifully connecting experience, in so many ways!”
“I left feeling grounded, centred and connected to myself. Taking time to be with others in the woods was so refreshing. Having spent so much time in the concrete city with all its demands you have guided us into a nurturing and enriching space in nature”