By Danielle French

Forest Bathing: Restore and reset your frame of mind.

We are hosting an amazing event at the farm on June 3rd at 9:30 am, Forest Bathing. Forest Bathing is something new to me. A friend made an introduction to the concept of having this type of experience here at the farm and on the Ballyduff Trails and it seemed like a perfect fit. I did some quick searches about what Forest Bathing was exactly – of course before agreeing. I found overwhelming media attention about the Forest Bathing experience from Time Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, CNN among others, as being the most enjoyable and therapeutic way to spend time and achieve health benefits. The experience of simply “being” in nature not exercising or doing chores but being in a forest atmosphere and taking this atmosphere in through all our senses brings a sense of well being. We apparently emerge refreshed, rejuvenated, restored.

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According to Time Magazine by 2050, 66% of the world’s population is projected to live in an urban environment and further, an average American – and I assume this trends for a Canadian as well, spends 93% of time indoors. These are actually staggering statistics. It is a sad sign of our society becoming increasingly disconnected from nature and the natural state of things around us.

I am very much connected with the outdoors, living now on a farm and the view from my window (or my summer working spot in the barn) most often is one of just the rolling farm land. I try never to take this for granted. I do however, spend far too much time on a computer and sitting still in my office often not coming up for air until late in the day. What I know is that when I take the time to leave my chair, go for a short walk or better yet go into the forest and walk along the trails, I feel connected and much more mentally prepared to take on the rest of the day or evening. My first year at the farm after moving from Toronto was a difficult one. I felt isolated and a bit lonely. But, I rarely missed a walk in the woods alone with the dogs and I know it held things together for me. I know I was a better parent because I had this time in nature and that it is what gave me a sense of sanity and able to move forward making a plan about my future.

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Forest Bathing does not involve being naked. It is a Japanese practice called shinrin-yoku where you are “bathing in the forest atmosphere” allowing this bathing to reconnect us to a place of well being. When you arrive here at the farm, you are not just left alone in the forest but with a guide, Kristie Virgoe, who has gone through a rigorous program becoming accredited and experienced in the practice. I met Kristie Virgoe who is the Director, Stewardship, Conservation Lands at Kawartha Conservation. She is also a graduate of the Ecosystem Management Program at Fleming College and a certified Forest Therapy Guide.

I encourage you to take the time to find out about what Forest Bathing is. Take a minute to think about your next walk in the forest and connect with nature. I know I will be going for my first guided walk with her on Sunday. For details and tickets visit our website here.

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Danielle French - Ash Naylor Photography

About Danielle

Looking for a simpler way of life for her four daughters and herself, Danielle moved from Toronto to this farm in the Bethany Hills of Southern Ontario, and over time together with her family and her partner Shawn, restored the barn, the iconic heritage silo and the land.

Danielle loves to create unique settings and menus for the many events she offers at South Pond Farms, such as authentic farm-to-table gatherings, bread-making workshops, culinary classes, and weddings. Danielle’s vision is to inspire others to share her vision of a traditional life and way of cooking and to feel the sense of history on this beautiful land.  

Danielle was also the host of a television series called Taste of the Country

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