I couldn’t have picked a better day to practice shinrin-yoku (forest bathing). Today was a classic autumn day. Cool. Crisp. Blue skies. Beautiful.
This past month has been busy. There hasn’t been much opportunity to go for a long walk. And I could feel it. The walls closing in. A tightness in my chest. The feeling of being constricted.
Other than choosing a place and a time I don’t plan or think too much about the practice. I let instinct take me wherever. After a month of planned days, today felt like a release. Freedom.
Some how my walk evolves into a close up observation of nature surrounding me. As I walk I stop to notice the small things. The colours, textures, shadows, sounds and smells.
The red berries nestled among the green leaves.
The sharp spiky needles.
The tiny fish swimming among the reeds.
The fluorescent green algae.
The bark peeling off the tree.
The cold smooth stones.
The thick spongy grass.
The rustle as I walk through the autumn leaves.
The roots straining down to reach the waters edge.
The sunlight shining through the leaves.
The scarred fruit fallen on the ground.
The contrast between the blue sky and the yellow berries.
And finally the gracefulness of tai chi. Surely the most peaceful form of exercise?