The Roots of Forest Therapy
Updated: Jan 19
"Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here, the forest breathes. Listen…
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you, you are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows where you are. You must let it find you." ~ David Wagoner
I invite you to pause for a moment. Take a deep breath into your belly, hold it at the top, and release as slowly as possible. Repeat a few times.
Then, bring your attention down to the points of connection between your body and the earth beneath you. Imagine your legs have roots that are reaching down into the rich soil. Feel the way they intertwine with the roots of all the other plants, fungi, and trees that share this place. Draw some of this energy up into your body. Next, stretch your arms up above you. Shift your attention towards the top of your head and the tips of fingers. Imagine they are branches reaching out to receive the energy of the sun. Allow it to flow effortlessly into your body.
Take another couple of slow, intentional breaths. Notice how you feel.
Humans are inextricably connected to nature. Every breath we take is possible simply because of the air provided by the plants around us. Our ancestors knew this all too well. We see this in the Tree of Life or World Tree that is present throughout ancient cultures. I come from long lineages of Celtic and Germanic Peoples for whom this tree, known as crann bethadh in Gaeilge and yggdrasil in Norse, was central to everything. When the Celts cleared a field, they always left one tree in the middle where they would gather for ceremonies, feasts, and healing. It was their portal of connection to all of creation.
Over time, humans have not only forgotten we are part of the web of life, but also the profound healing of connecting with nature. We have lost touch with the intricate tapestry of roots that exist beneath us. The good news is this relationship is always available to us. This is the heart of forest therapy. It is not a new concept. It did not originate with the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, also known as forest bathing. However, we can thank the recent global popularity of this concept for helping us remember the inherent healing in spending intentional time in the forest.
In my understanding, the practice of forest therapy is about remembrance. It is about returning to a place of deep humility and love for nature. It is about quieting our minds and letting go of distractions long enough to allow our bodies to attune with the rhythms of the land once again. It is about coming back to a state of absolute reverence for the miracle of life that is constantly flowing through us, with every sacred breath.
If you’d like to experience this for yourself, I invite you to join me for a guided forest therapy session. Find more information here: https://www.innercadence.com/forest-therapy.