Walking along a leafy path, placing one foot slowly in front of the other, I take a deep breath in and look around me. The sprawling trees rise from the ground on either side, creating a lush green canopy over the sky that protects me from the bright sunshine. I stop and listen to the rustling leaves as a gentle breeze wafts through the air every so often. I hear the gurgle of the nearby river getting louder as I walk towards it. A bird sings sweetly in the distance while I exhale completely and take in my surroundings.
I am practicing the art of shinrin-yoku, the Japanese alternative medicinal practice of forest bathing.
Developed in Japan in the 1980s, forest bathing uses mindfulness and meditation techniques to open all five senses and use nature as a healing tool. A simple, yet mindful walk through the forest allows you to slow down, disconnect from technology, and take a break from life’s daily stressors.
Getting close to nature and reaping its benefits is becoming increasingly difficult as we move further away to more inhabited areas. But by booking a stay at any of these seven forest bathing hotels across the United States, you get the chance to be present, de-stress and reap the many benefits of shinrin-yoku.