Shinrin-yoku (translated as “forest bathing”) began in Japan in the 1980s. Rooted in Shinto and Buddhist traditions of reverence for nature, the practice involves a full sensory immersion in the outdoors. Recent health studies conducted in Japan, North America, and other countries document the mental and physical health benefits of quiet time spent in nature, including lowered blood pressure and stress hormone levels, as well as improved mood and cognition. Lately, more and more studies are focused on the health benefits of time spent in natural landscapes within cities. Experience forest bathing as Melanie Choukas-Bradley, a certified nature and forest-therapy guide and author of The Joy of Forest Bathing (Rock Point), leads a 2-hour walk in the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle. Move slowly to soak up the beauty of the Moongate Garden, inspired by the Chinese Temple of Heaven; the Fountain Garden, modeled after the Court of the Lions at the Alhambra, and the Victorian Parterre. This unique and restorative celebration of the beauty of spring in one of the garden gems of the nation’s capital is the perfect way to learn why forest bathing is becoming popular all over the world. All participants receive a signed copy of The Joy of Forest Bathing.
The group meets at the entrance to the S. Dillon Ripley Center, 1100 Jefferson Dr., SW (Metro: Smithsonian, Mall exit).