Shinrin-Yoku, AKA Forest Bathing at Adlington Hall and Gardens
It is still hard to believe that this time last year the words; COVID19, social distance, lockdown and furlough were unknown to most of us, yet now we see or hear most of these many times daily.
The hustle and bustle of our normal busy day to day lives has now been replaced with trying to juggle working from home and home schooling, whilst trying to fit in daily exercise, ensuring the family are all eating healthily, walking the dog and trying a shield everyone from a deadly virus, all whilst looking after our mental wellbeing… a mighty challenge even for the most organised and professional multitasker!!
At a time when taking care of our mental and physical wellbeing is more important than ever before, let us explain shinrin-yoku (pronounced ‘shin’ as in the lower part of your leg, ‘rin’ to rhyme with ‘shin’, ‘yo’ to rhyme with ‘go’ and ‘ku’, to rhyme with ‘you’) or in English, better known as Forest Bathing.
Shinrin-yoku, a practice founded in Japan in the early 1980’s as an antidote to the stresses of modern life including technological overload, is described as a path to physical and psychological wellbeing and if done regularly and correctly is said to soothe minds and heal bodies.
Shinrin-yoku/Forest Bathing is a sensory experience in a forest environment that involves totally connecting with nature. This is more than just your daily walk through a woodland area, it is about taking time to slow down and tune into all your senses to help totally immerse yourself in your surroundings. Leave all distractions behind, keep electrical devices off (or even better at home) and truly give the environment your full attention, for approximately 2-4 hours. You will not cover a huge distance, probably less than half a mile, remember this is not about walking miles it is about taking in your environment.
The Wilderness at Adlington Hall is the ideal space to enjoy Forest Bathing, a mindful walk or even tree hugging!! With the abundance of wildlife on the ground and in the trees, look up and listen to see if you can hear the different bird calls or look down for tracks and trails left on the floor by smaller mammals. Stand by the River Dean and listen to the calming water, some days slowly meandering through the Wilderness or days fast flowing but equally as mesmerizing and relaxing. For an added experience stand bare footed on the banks of the river and feel the water’s energy as it flows around your feet.
We all know trees produce oxygen, being close to trees and walking near them not only aids breathing and lung capacity but can also reduce the levels of cortisol in the body, a hormone associated with stress. For an added boost you could try tree hugging, this has been said to increase levels of oxytocin, another hormone known as the ‘love hormone’ which links with the hormones serotonin and dopamine, released with hugging – In a time where we are unable to hug our nearest and dearest, try getting your feel good hormones from trees in the meantime. Located in and around the Wilderness we have a number of different trees including; Yew, Oak, Copper Beech, Lime, Beech, Silver Birch, Hornbeam to name a few – although we would advise you to probably avoid hugging a Monkey Puzzle!!
Although we are closed for the time being, we are hoping to open for a number of dates* in the summer and hope you can enjoy some time to yourselves and reconnect with nature in our grounds – ask for our ‘Forest Bathing’ leaflet on arrival for tips and a map of ‘peaceful areas’ around the Estate.
*Dates to be confirmed and will be published on our website soon.