A*Mused Blog - Forest Bathing With Red Car Wine
by Amber Lucas | April 23, 2019
In early celebration of Earth Day, I had the opportunity to attend a guided Forest Bathing experience with Red Car Wines! If you are not familiar with the term or practice of Forest Bathing, continue reading below to learn more.
What is Forest Bathing? In short, it is spending quality time in nature. The practice, called shinrin-yoku - a term that means "taking in the forest atmosphere", or "forest bathing" in Japanese. While this term was developed and studied in Japan in the 1980's, the act of 'nature therapy' has been around for quite some time. It was around the 1980's, however, that scientists and psychologists took note in a large upswing of stress-related incidents within their societies, and developed research on how quiet, meditative time in nature greatly improved an individuals well being.
Before shuttling off for our adventure, Victoria and I convened at Red Car Winery in Sebastopol, and sipped on their new 2018 Rosé. After that, it was a short 15 minute ride to our adventure spot. For our experience, we were lead on a meditative walk through a beautiful redwood grove and vineyards at Zephyr Farms in Freestone (about half way between Sebastopol and Bodega Bay).
So, how do you Forest Bathe, exactly? Forest bathing is all about taking the time to quietly appreciate and admire the nature surrounding you. Through our guided forest meditation, Jenny Harrow our Integrative Health Advocate and Forest Therapy Guide, quietly spoke meditative prompts. She invited us to close our eyes and listen to the sounds that sounded far away, sounds that were near, to taste the air, and to open our eyes and see what was before us with new eyes. She then had us slowly pace ourselves through the grove and vineyard and to "bring out our inner child" and to act on our curiosities - to pay attention to small movements around us and to crouch and inspect if we felt the impulse. In between each 'practice' we gathered as a group to share our thoughts. For our final session, we sat for 20 minutes in the area of our choosing, and simply existed in nature. Some of us took naps, some admired ladybugs, and others took in the scenery.
What are the benefits of Forest Bathing? While introducing us to the practice, Jenny shared an interesting fact: trees emit their own essential oils that studies have shown can reduce our stress hormone, cortisol. By spending mindful time in nature, our stress levels can be reduced by up to 30%! In addition to reducing stress, Forest Bathing also promotes a deeper sleep, helping individuals wake the next morning feeling more refreshed.
After our meditative forest walk the group gathered together for multiple vintages of Zephyr Farms Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – the wines grown on the same breath-taking site. We were also served local cheeses, and light snacks. What I noticed during our tasting is how friendly we all felt towards each other! We had started off as strangers, but after our walk we all felt like friends. I like to think our beautiful time in nature had a lot to do with it 😊
Thank you to Red Car Wine and Jenny Harrow for such a unique and lovely experience!