Updated: Dec 4, 2019
There are some points I require for the “Essence of Forest” for Shinrin-yoku.
1. The colour of Green needs to be rich and gentle 2. The forest has a ‘welcoming energy’ with an enough open-air feeling. 3. There is a creek/river (The sound of water is essential.) 4. It is important that the audience will feel “calmness” and “I am in the forest” feeling, without disturbing by the noise of car/house hold, etc. 5. There is a small picnic area where we can sit and talk.
Okay, let’s talk from the top.
Why green is so important?
The plants and trees in Australia are very different from those in Japan. In fact, the varying colours of green are different. The vivid surreal green of plants and trees in Japan are so vibrant that they are almost overwhelming to the eyes, especially during the early summer. In Australia the colours a different but equally beautiful.
Once you start feeling this “colour sensation”, feeling the depth of the vivid colourful palette, you are then experiencing the art of Shinrin-yoku in the forest.
In Australian bush, majority of trees in a bush/forests are Eucalyptus trees. They are tall and it’s quite difficult to see the leafy part of the tree since its canopy is much higher than your height. What you normally see is the trunk of the tree, which is the colour of brown so you need to look up.
But rainforests are different. The height of plants and trees are not so tall and the colours are much richer. So as soon as you walk into the rainforest, you are surrounded by foliage that help your mind to relax.
The colour of Green will instantly make your mind calmer.
Why “welcoming energy” is important?
Simply because when the forest looks somewhat dark and there are far too many plants and trees that are gathered together, you will not get that special feeling of ‘calmness’ and ‘tranquillity’ but the opposite in fact. This crowded feeling prevents you from truly connecting with the forest. So I spend the time and energy at the entrance of a forest to ensure that the forest “welcomes you” with an invitation of calm and peaceful beauty.
Why the water is important?
Our body has around 60 to 70% of water. This fluid travels around our body like a flow of river. This creates a unique “rhythm” within our body. According to research, when our body’s rhythm is synchronised with the rhythm of the environment that surrounds us, we feel “comfortable”. Humans feel “relaxed” when they are near water, like the ocean, the rivers/creeks. This is because our rhythm is in sync with the rhythm of the water. Our body intuitively understands this feeling. So water elements are essential for the Shinrin-yoku walk. Also, listening to the sound of water deeply relaxes you.
Why the “calmness” and “I am in the forest”-feeling is important?
We all know what is like to experience the chaotic and busy life, especially in the city. We are surrounded by a host of influences that drain our energy. Therefore It is important to feel that you are enjoying your own space and develop an close connection with forest to calm your mind.
Why having a picnic area is important?
Having a picnic area allows us to sit and talk each other over a nice cup of tea and snack after the walk! Tea and snacks after the walk is refreshing and fun!
In conclusion, these five points summarise the important elements of the Shinrin-yoku walk.
Your own personal experience may allow you to discover different essence that are important to you!