When I opened Tryon Farm Guest House in 2004 I gave it a tag line of Connect with Nature – Nurture your Spirit. It seemed fitting since our farmhouse sits on a 150 acre former dairy farm with most of that land open for exploring wetlands, ponds, old forests, meadows, and pastures. Over time many guests enjoyed a hike on the land.
Then last year I began to learn about something called Forest Bathing, which is very different from a hike. Forest Bathing has a current popularity that may be the direct result of people enjoying the opportunity to disconnect from phones, screens, and electronic fitness devices. Forest Bathing doesn’t have a destination. It originates from a Japanese word that encourages people to immerse themselves in nature.
Remember when as children we went to the woods to ‘play?’ Forest Bathing is familiar play that increases creativity, reduces stress, heightens cognitive thought, and helps us pay attention to our world. It’s just like when our preschool teachers taught us to use our five senses to explore new things. When we go Forest Bathing, we stop and focus. We smell musky moss and sweet wild flowers, feel bark on trees that go from smooth to rough, watch ants do their work, hear the music coming from branches blowing high overhead, and step lightly over a bed of leaves that just last night was home to a new deer family.
Turns out this type of connection to nature is good for your health and well being. In other words, it Nurtures Your Spirit. We have three nature destinations within a mile of our bed and breakfast. Leave your phone in your room, and go take a Forest Bath in Northwest Indiana.