by Cassandra Claman | Jan 17, 2022 | Forest Therapy
Before I began my training as a guide for Nature and Forest Therapy, I had
never heard the term. A sit spot is simply a favorite spot in nature or even
looking out your window at nature, where several times a week, one sits
with awareness and open senses. If it is ten minutes 3 times a week or an
hour five times a week, it doesn’t matter. Ideally, this special spot is easy to
get to. If it requires getting into the car or a long hike to get to the sit spot,
the likelihood of doing this practice diminishes. I have a bench that I
thought would be my sit spot in the woods overlooking a creek that is just a
few minutes away from my house. It is lovely, but it is also crawling with
ticks during the summer. For that reason, I decided to use a camping chair
and place it nearer the house next to my garden where ticks are rare and I
found I used it far more often. A deck, patio, or porch works too. It doesn’t
have to be fancy or exotic. Initially, I was restless and felt that my time
could be better spend getting through my endless to do list, but I stuck with
it. The sense of time dissolved. The sense that I should be doing something
else disappeared. Slowly, but surely, it has become a treasured part of my
week. To sit still and listen and look, to feel the breeze, the warm sun, the
sprinkling rain, snow, all feel like a gift from nature. A sense of calm and
peace settles inside me. I feel grateful to have a sit spot in my life. Try it,
give it some time, and I suspect you, too, will feel replenished by this
by Cassandra Claman | Oct 22, 2021 | Forest Therapy
Forest Therapy is a practice that supports health and wellness through guided immersion in forests and other environments to promote the well-being of both people and the land and to help them reconnect with nature or establish a relationship with nature. It is inspired by Shinrin-yoku, the Japanese practice of “Forest Bathing.”
In Forest Bathing, people spend time in forested areas to enhance health, wellness, and happiness and to ease anxiety and depression. In Forest Therapy, people are guided through a clearly defined sequence of invitations to slow down, allow the senses to open, and experience nature in a different sort of way. This supports the relational nature of the participant and nature. These walks are typically very short and slow and fit for all ages and physical conditions. The guide is not a therapist, but facilitates the connection with the forest which is truly the therapist.
Invitations are open-ended and non-prescriptive. There is no expectation for what participants should experience. Rather, participants spend time in silence, listening and feeling in a quiet and accepting, non judgmental space.
Reasons to do Forest Therapy:
The improvement of human health. People are more stressed, anxious, and depressed and have more chronic health conditions. Forest Therapy provides a pathway for people to remember how to immerse themselves in nature to rest from all that consumes them in their daily lives.
A greater sense of connectedness and relationship with themselves, each other, nature and time. In addition, a heartfelt, embodied relationship with nature naturally leads to a love of nature and recognition that we are nature too.
More about Association of Nature and Forest Therapy:
ANFT, founded in 2012 by M. Amos Clifford, combines elements of Shinrin-yoku with Clifford’s four decades of experience in wilderness guiding, Zen meditation, psychotherapy, educational consulting, and nature connection. His emphasis has been on the relational aspects of Forest Therapy.
A few links to research on Forest Therapy benefits:
1. A website:
Immerse Yourself in a Forest for Better Health, New York Department of Conservation: dec.ny.gov/lands/90720.html
2. A book:
The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, by Florence Williams (see the Resources section in the back of the book for a list of other recommended reading)
3. Published research:
Shinrin-yoku (Forest bathing) and Nature Therapy: A State-of-the-Art Review, Margaret M.Hansen,* Reo Jones and Kirsten Tocchini. Academic Editors Yoshifumi Miyazaki, Hiromitsu Kobayashi, Sin-Ae Park, and Chorong Song: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5580555/