They say that by 2050, 75% of the world will adopt the city life which comes along with facing significantly degraded environmental quality.
We all know how nature makes us feel. For some, it is a great energy booster, for others, nature probably provides the best yoga practice session ever, while for some others, unique and amazing views and photographies.
What happens when we neglect the surrounding environment? Have you ever thought about those respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses and why the number of people affected is increasing? That is right. We neglect the nature and what makes me so sad is that we are cutting forests for building a shopping mall or a new residential complex.
While this process is unstoppable, there are still plenty of places you can go and rejuvenate. For example, Transylvania is very well known for its virgin forests and its fresh air. While visiting Akasha, you will be amazed to find out that this yoga retreat center is located at over 1000 m altitude and you don’t even have to wonder about the air pureness because it will definitely hit you.
Some Interesting Origins Of Forest Bathing
The history of forest bathing started in the 80's when we were all wearing those shiny, sparkly clothes and costumes. In fact, they say that forest bathing rooted in the ancient Japanese reference, with some very interesting woven into the Shinto and Buddhist tradition.
Of course, that forest bathing wasn’t so popular back then or at least, my parents didn’t hear a word about it. Maybe I should have asked my grandparents instead. It has been growing in popularity however throughout the time when people started to care much more about their well-being and realized the limitless physical and mental benefits of this practice. The digital area wasn’t so popular back then and probably people were not influenced by so many negative and digital vibes. Don’t worry though, nature’s got your back!
An interesting review of over 100 medical studies found that spending time in nature was associated with a ton of benefits, like improved cardiovascular health, decreased incidents of stroke and asthma, and better-reported health. Another round of studies found that people not only felt more relaxed after forest bathing but had lower blood pressure, too.
What’s forest Bathing, anyway?
Japanese people practice something they call “forest bathing”, or shinrin-yoku. I don’t know how to pronounce “ shinrin-yoku” but I know for sure what it means. in Japanese, Shinrin means “forest,” and yoku means, obviously, “bath”, and there you have it! Shinrin-yoku and its true meaning: bathing in the forest or simply taking in the forest through our senses.
This is not a specific ritual, or exercise, or hiking, or jogging. It is just you being in nature, connecting with it, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching the nature. Some Japanese people see Shinrin-Yoku just like a bridge. They say that opening our senses bridges the gap between us and the natural world.
You’re probably thinking about the forest bathing equipment, leggings, boots and, scarfs. While we love to buy all these types of equipment for all kinds of activities, I hate to disappoint you but there’s no shopping needed for this one. Basically, you're not really going on a big hike because forest bathing it's not about the destination, it's more about the mindfulness practices, yoga and, meditation. All you have to do is to calm down, move slowly, walking slowly or simply, hug a tree!.
The goal is to slow down and tune in with all of your senses. You must look around and take in everything about this wonderful beauty we call nature. Smell the flowers, the earth. Listen to the rustling of leaves, the sounds of animals, and feel any water if there’s one nearby.
Get out from all of the hustle and bustle and connect to the earth.
What Forest Bathing and Yoga have in Common?
Seriously now, forest bath can be combined with yoga, and you can do it pretty much anywhere. Outdoor Yoga is an amazing practice which goes hand in hand with forest bathing. While we have an amazing and unique yoga studio at Akasha, nothing compares with our mountain front outdoor Yoga-Shala. The big majority of people choose a Yoga Retreat in Transylvania for such an experience ( and by experience I mean organic food, yoga & meditation classes + amazing wellbeing escapes with unique body therapies).
When it comes to forest bathing, it sounds like everything can work. Whether you choose a local park, nearby woods, or even your own backyard, sounds amazing. Same goes with yoga. You can practice at any time, anywhere, everywhere. At the end of the day, it is all about the mind and body, not the surroundings. You can forest bathe and practice yoga for 30 minutes, or an entire day, nothing can stop or limit you. Whatever works for you, do it!
So now, what comes next? Just go out and take a walk in the forest. How is the strong energy of nature is making you feel? How about adding an asana or two in the forest? While both separately have plenty of benefits, combining Yoga and Forest Bathing can definitely set you free and take you to a place of health and peacefulness.
Want to explore the virgin forests of Transylvania and book an affordable yoga retreat? Check out the best yoga retreats in Europe!
Mena is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Akasha Retreat in Transylvania, and she loves everything related to travel. She is also a make-up artist and she enjoys going to the gym and taking long walks with her three dogs.