If you are interested in joining a forest therapy walk, please visit Zen and The City.
About Forest Therapy
Forest Therapy is inspired by a Japanese practice called “shinrin-yoku” which directly translates to “forest bathing”. In forest therapy, time is spent in the natural world while engaging the senses through mindful exploration . An emphasis is placed on the pleasures of the experience and on connecting with nature through the building of a relationship with the land and all its beings.
The Forest is the therapist, the Guide opens the door.
On a forest therapy walk, you are invited to experience the forest in a mindful way guided by your senses, intuition and curiosity. Walks are generally 2 to 3 hours in length and cover less than 3 kilometres in distance. Within this time, your forest therapy guide will take you through several invitations that allow you to slow down and take notice of what is around and within you. You may be invited to move slowly, sit still or use your creativity and imagination. You will also have the opportunity to share with your community should you wish. Walks conclude with a tea ceremony where you can savour an infusion made from the very forest you just strolled through.
Forest Therapy Guide In-Training
Having worked in environmental education and policy development for close to a decade, I am exploring a different way of bringing about stewardship and protection of our planet. Instead of appealing to our intellect through the myriad of scientific and practical reasons for conservation, it may be more impactful to appeal to the human heart and spirit. I found forest therapy as a powerful way to experience the joys of being in nature and cultivate a oneness between the human and the more-than-human worlds. We are more likely to truly care for beings that we see as part of our ourselves or our family rather than as commodities or resources.
This discovery has brought me to Forest Therapy. I am currently completing the practicum stage of my training to become a certified Forest Therapy Guide with the Association of Nature & Forest Therapy Guides. In July 2016, I spent a week in the beautiful forests of Albion Hills Conservation Area with 12 other guides-to-be from both Canada and the United States. Over the next 6 months, I am leading a number of walks in the Toronto ravines. Hope you can join me!