We are super inspired by hiking a long distance once a week. Therefore, we would like to share the benefits of being in nature both from ancient and modern perspectives.
Harvard physician Paul Dudley White, the ‘father of American cardiology’, believed that a brisk, five mile walk every day is as good a remedy for a restless mind as anything the worlds of medicine and psychology have to offer.
In the 1980s, Japan popularized the practice of shinrin-yoku, also known as forest bathing, an ancient Japanese practice of immersing oneself in nature by mindfully using all five senses. In Ayurveda, this is called pratyahara: withdrawal of senses from the outside world.
Stop, listen, touch, taste, smell, and see the beauty of the wilderness. Take a moment and feel through your senses. Instead of only using your senses outwardly, use them as avenues of consciousness; breathe in through each sense and feel it in your heart. Listen to the sounds of nature in your heart. Smell, see, and touch nature, bringing the awareness of each to your heart.
Permanent background noise, compulsive and increasingly compulsory engagement with technology, the demands of multi-tasking, and the necessity of constantly having to respond to sudden, disruptive stimuli, place a severe strain on our cognitive functions. By contrast, natural environments are rich in the characteristics necessary for the brain to replenish itself.
Research finds health benefits in the areas of:
Immune system function (increase in natural killer cells/cancer prevention)
Cardiovascular system (hypertension/coronary artery disease)
Respiratory system (allergies and respiratory disease)
Depression and anxiety (mood disorders and stress)
Mental relaxation (attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder)
Feelings of “awe” (increase in gratitude and selflessness)
We highly recommend this practice for optimal physical, emotional, and mental health.
1. James Horrox “Science of Hiking”
2. Dr John Douillard “The 2-Hour Remedy for our Mental and Physical Well-Being”