This year, I had an awesome opportunity to cruise up across the Golden Gate bridge to the impossibly beautiful Marin Headlands hike for a much needed (kid free) hike and Forest Bathing (aka Shinrin-Yoku) meditation experience.
My hiking and meditation experience in the Marin Headlands hike meant I explored the serene beauty of majestic redwoods, young and old, and bay, oak, and fir trees too. Fun fact – we spent the day alongside the same redwood forest where Star Wars: Return of the Jedi was filmed (Theo was wayyyy excited about this fact).
The type of meditation I experienced in the Marin Headlands hike is called “Forest Bathing,” or its better known Japanese term “Shinrin-yoku,” which means “taking in the forest atmosphere.” Shinrin-yoku began in Japan during the 1980s and is a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. Japan and South Korean research points to the numerous health benefits of spending time in a living forest.
My forest bathing experience involved wandering slowly along the winding redwood lined trails, hopping over creeks, crossing a fallen redwood tree (so crazy!), and resting alongside a stream, reflecting about life and all the dreams and wishes and hopes within it. The only sounds were those of the wildlife living around me (birds, squirrels, deers, frogs, and more), and the sleepy trees swaying in the breeze. I emerged at the end of the day feeling grateful, centered, and determined to make this experience a part of my self care.