The Restorative Effects Of A Nature Walk

mudwhistle

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Now there are forty-eight designated forest therapy trails in Japan and shinrin-yoku is an accepted form of preventative medicine there. It is estimated that an astounding one quarter of the Japanese population use these forest trails. With increasing urbanization and use of technology, other countries around the world are investigating the potential health benefits of spending time in nature.

Shinrin-yoku: Forest Healing
Jeanne Lapsker is a Forest volunteer at NYBG.

The leaves of the old rhododendron shrubs hang straight and stiff outside my window—the surest indicator of freezing temperatures. I dress in layers and head out to the forest in NYBG.

In the late 1800s Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, “It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.” Recently a friend posted an article about shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, a term coined in Japan in 1982 that sparked my interest.

Shinrin-yoku was inspired by the ancient Shinto and Buddhist practices of letting nature enter the body through all five senses. For several decades now Japanese researchers have been studying the psychological and physiological effects of leisurely walking in the woods and breathing in the scent of old trees. They found correlations with stress and blood pressure reduction, improved mood, increased energy, improved sleep, increased concentration, and increases in the body’s immune cells. Now there are forty-eight designated forest therapy trails in Japan and shinrin-yoku is an accepted form of preventative medicine there. It is estimated that an astounding one quarter of the Japanese population use these forest trails. With increasing urbanization and use of technology, other countries around the world are investigating the potential health benefits of spending time in nature.

What we have long believed intuitively to be true regarding the benefits of spending time among the trees may in fact be linked to biological and chemical changes in our bodies. In the meantime, as I walk these paths in the Thain Family Forest, I smile to think that in other native forests under different native trees, others are walking paths, different yet similar, and experiencing a comparable sense of peace.

Links

Shinrin-yoku Forest Healing NYBG
Thain Family Forest NYBG
Gardens Collections NYBG
Tree Peonies NYBG
I have long enjoyed the restorative effects of nature while walking through the woods or along the beach. The amount of oxygen both produce is literally breathtaking.
 

Treeshepherd

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I call it 'forest bathing'.

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity”
― John Muir

This is my backpacking hammock;

ImageUploadedByTapatalk1423162147.227871.jpg
 
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mudwhistle

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“I’ve often thought of the forest as a living cathedral, but this might diminish what it truly is. If I have understood Koyukon teachings, the forest is not merely an expression or representation of sacredness, nor a place to invoke the sacred; the forest is sacredness itself. Nature is not merely created by God; nature is God. Whoever moves within the forest can partake directly of sacredness, experience sacredness with his entire body, breathe sacredness and contain it within himself, drink the sacred water as a living communion, bury his feet in sacredness, touch the living branch and feel the sacredness, open his eyes and witness the burning beauty of sacredness”
Richard Nelson, The Island Within
 

Old Rocks

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Now for me, this is home, no matter where else I live. I have walked that ridge in both directions, fished miles of the little river in the valley, and followed many of the smaller valleys and gullies from the main valley into the mountains. Whenever I can spend a few days here, especially when I can walk an area, the years slip away, and for a while, the days of my youth are relived.

You don't need a nature trail for restoration, just go into nature, and follow your own trail. Sometimes when we don't know what is at the end of the trail is when we learn the most about ourselves and the world we live in.
 
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mudwhistle

mudwhistle

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Now for me, this is home, no matter where else I live. I have walked that ridge in both directions, fished miles of the little river in the valley, and followed many of the smaller valleys and gullies from the main valley into the mountains. Whenever I can spend a few days here, especially when I can walk an area, the years slip away, and for a while, the days of my youth are relived.

You don't need a nature trail for restoration, just go into nature, and follow your own trail. Sometimes when we don't know what is at the end of the trail is when we learn the most about ourselves and the world we live in.
Looks like back home. I even see some Ponderosa Pine trees like back home.
Nothing like the smell of pine trees in the mountains.
 
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Water Sees Fire at Lake's Side
I gaze at you
From the darkness of the water,
Eyeing the flood of brightness that comes forth from you.
You are
A creature unlike any other I have found,
As your touch
Turns water to steam.
I wish I could
Walk up to the surface and greet you,
But I am afraid that you may burn me,
Turn me into mist,
So I watch you
From deeper places in the lake’s clear water,
Waiting for you to look down.

Unknown Author - Lethogica

Water Sees Fire at Lake s Side a poem by Writer Lethogica. All poetry poets - All Poetry
 

Old Rocks

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Now for me, this is home, no matter where else I live. I have walked that ridge in both directions, fished miles of the little river in the valley, and followed many of the smaller valleys and gullies from the main valley into the mountains. Whenever I can spend a few days here, especially when I can walk an area, the years slip away, and for a while, the days of my youth are relived.

You don't need a nature trail for restoration, just go into nature, and follow your own trail. Sometimes when we don't know what is at the end of the trail is when we learn the most about ourselves and the world we live in.
Looks like back home. I even see some Ponderosa Pine trees like back home.
Nothing like the smell of pine trees in the mountains.
Totally agree with that. That area is mostly Poderosa Pine, with Juniper below the Pine. In the summer, after a long dry spell, the smells after a short hard rain at the Juniper-Pine line is heaven. The smell of the grass, sage, juniper, and pine are like no other in the world.
 

Old Rocks

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Water Sees Fire at Lake's Side
I gaze at you
From the darkness of the water,
Eyeing the flood of brightness that comes forth from you.
You are
A creature unlike any other I have found,
As your touch
Turns water to steam.
I wish I could
Walk up to the surface and greet you,
But I am afraid that you may burn me,
Turn me into mist,
So I watch you
From deeper places in the lake’s clear water,
Waiting for you to look down.

Unknown Author - Lethogica

Water Sees Fire at Lake s Side a poem by Writer Lethogica. All poetry poets - All Poetry
Beautiful picture, same for the poetry, thank You!
 

iamwhatiseem

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Unfortunately for the past 20 years or so, teens today like to tear everything up.
We have a park here that was dedicated for WWI (not II) lost soldiers in this area.
There was a life size statue of a WWI soldier standing on top of a block with the names of the fallen. It stood, undamaged, for 70 years.
In the 90's kids kept knocking it's head off.
Then they started spray painting it, then they broke the rifle it was holding.
Today, only the block stands. Most of the names you can't read anymore because kids scratched out the names.
In the same park, they constructed a larger commemoration piece with two huge bald eagles on both sides. It stood, undamaged for over 40 years. Today, the heads of the eagles are gone.
It is like this in parks across America. For whatever reason beginning 20 years ago or so...kids have zero respect for public property. They would tear up the trails, and spray paint graffiti everywhere.
Incredibly sad.
 

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