Forest Bathing. Shinrin Yoku at Kilmokea
Kilmokea Country Manor & Gardens
Kilmokea Country Manor & Gardens has launched ‘Forest Bathing’ a Japanese Forest Therapy known as “Shinrin-Yoku” at Kilmokea Gardens from 2nd June 2021. Forest Bathing will provide the opportunity for garden visitors to lift the spirit and calm the mind to improve our mental health which is a major health concern after a year of lockdowns.
In Japanese ‘Shinrin’ means forest and ‘Yoku’ stands for bathing. Broadly it means taking in all of one’s senses in the woodland atmosphere. Not simply a walk in the woods, it is the conscious and contemplative practice of being immersed in the sights, sounds and smells of the woodland around you, spending quiet, mindful time in nature to improve your wellbeing. This relaxation practice asks you to take notice of the natural world, breathe deeply and calm your mind. Through immersing yourself in nature in a mindful way, you use your senses to achieve a whole range of benefits for your physical, mental, emotional, and social health.
Guests of the house and visitors to the Gardens are offered a suite of tools to help them with their Forest Bathing experience. You receive Emma’s shinrin-yoku leaflet to self-guide them around the woodland garden. During this experience you enter the woodland and are greeted with a QR code which brings you directly to Emma’s introductory short video. You are then encouraged to turn off your devices to give yourself the best chance of relaxing, being mindful and enjoying a sensory woodland-based experience. You find beautifully created ‘reminder signs’ placed around the woodland. You are encouraged to stand still in nature and listen to the sounds of the woodland. To find a perfect spot to sit a while and connect with nature and to wander and explore and take your time and to deliberately walk slowly, running your fingers through leaves and branches, and focusing your eyes on the trees and scenery. You are prompted to stay in one place for at least fifteen minutes, using your senses to explore the present moment. This is “Embodied Awareness.” To complete your experience, a Tea Ceremony seals the reconnection with nature and yourself and you are encouraged to indulge in the gorgeous Tea selection in the Conservatory Café to reflect on your calm and ease.