In the recent hot weather, the draw of a shady forest path has been more appealing than ever, but for many, escaping to the forest is about more than just getting away from the sun for a bit.
With little trickling through a green canopy and the array of life visible across the forest floor, even the most humdrum of forests can feel completely enchanting, so it's not hard to see that many people find them to be places of shelter, solace and somewhere to go to be at one with nature. For some of these people, it is a kind of meditation and of finding mindfulness away from a busy world. Introducing to you, forest bathing, or Shinrin-yoku, as it is called in Japan, where it first emerged as a practice in the 1980s.
What is it?
As with many mindfulness practices, it means different things to different people, but the basics involve immersing yourself in a forest, using all of your senses to really take it in - the sounds of crunching leaves and branches, and smell of moss and warmth of the bark - noting and processing each element bit by bit in order to reach a meditative state.
The idea is that simply calm and quiet amongst the trees and observing nature around you whilst breathing deeply can help to relieve anxiety, de-stress and help you connect with nature.
How to do it?
Forest bathing is great because it's an easy and accessible practice for any who can get to a forest (with over 3 millions hectares of forest in the UK you shouldn't have to go too far).
For a full rundown on how to do it, we love Forestry England's guide, but forest bathing needn't be full immersion. You can dip your toe by simply paying a little more attention next time you walk through a forest - take out your earphones, breathe deeply and look up.