A new activity in this wonderful woodland garden is “Forrest Bathing”, a Japanese Forrest Therapy which was popularised in Japan in the 1980’s and in 1982 they made this form of mobile meditation under the canopy of living forests a part of its national health program.
Kilmokea House and Garden, Campil, County Wexford, Ireland
Emma explained it to me. “Forest Bathing in Japanese is shinrin-yoku. ‘Shinrin’ means forest and ‘Yoku’ stands for bathing. Broadly it means taking in all of one’s senses and 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 was developed in Japan, and it 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.”
What Happens during Forest Bathing at Kilmokea.. Emma and Mark offer guests of the house and visitors to the Gardens a Kilmokea a shinrin-yoku leaflet to introduce them to this attractive concept. You use this to self-guide yourself around the woodland Garden. During this experience you will be introduced to standing still to meditate, concentrating on the sounds and smells of the woodland, like the birdsong and the sound of the water and breeze and animals. You they are asked 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.” You then Walk slowly for 15 minutes, noticing what is moving around you. You choose one to three invitations that are a good fit for the place you’re in, the weather, the people, the mood. This part of the experience is called “Infinite Possibilities,” because the woodland offers many choices. You then sit for reflection and conversation.
Forest Bathing and Dinner at the Manor.
Visitors can call at 5.00 pm, enjoy a glass of elderberry wine before setting out to explore this beautiful woodland and try Forest Bathing, returning to the Manor for 7.00pm and have a well-deserved dinner of wholesome homemade cuisine… and a nice glass of wine.