Forest bathing is very much in the news lately. I researched it whilst writing Technobiophilia and I also recommend it in Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age. Most of the techniques I’ve seen involve a fair bit of walking and wandering interspersed with sitting but this is the first time I’ve come across the idea of finding a place to sit and returning to it regularly for days, weeks, or months, until you become almost a part of it. That seems very appealing.
I found it at In My Nature , the website of a Melbourne, Australia, based company offering a range of retreats including forest bathing. You’ll find lots to read on the site, but here’s a brief excerpt about this interesting forest bathing practice taken from Make your sit spot practice private and intimate.
Find time when your chores are done and you can slip away alone. Then quietly approach your sit spot and you’ll notice more. Having established a sit spot routine, you will soon find incredible things happening around you and with you: maybe an echidna will come out of the shrubs and feed a few meters next to you!
Sit for at least 20 minutes – quietly
It’s a practice of being completely present, opening all the senses to become aware of all that is going on in the environment. It takes time for animals to feel safe again to come out and continue with their daily routines. The other part to this routine is about sitting, about stillness. Focus on improving your sit spot and your observation skills. By being a quiet, unobtrusive guest you will learn to make yourself welcome again, as an accepted member of the natural community.
Go to your sit spot at different times, in all kinds of weather
To fully get to know your sit spot, go there at different times of day. Depending on the time of day you will observe different animals and different behavior patterns. Notice the different birds, flowers and animals through the seasons. Big umbrellas are good for rainy but also very sunny days!
Be comfortable and learn to be still
Sit quietly and comfortably as this is the best way to allow the natural world to get to know you as well. After a while, birds and animals may approach you with curiosity. Allow yourself a few minutes to start noticing. Once you sit quietly long enough, the birds accept the fact that you are there and there for good. As they return to their daily tasks, a previously hidden dimension of your landscape opens up. Simply try listening firs to different bird songs until you can distinguish between them.
Featured Image: Sit Spot Woman, taken from the article