Imagine you enter into a forest. The temperature is much nicer and you’re overwhelmed with feelings of wellness. You start walking slowly. You decide to go barefoot so you can feel the freshness of the plants and the warmth of the ground below you. The direct contact with the ground makes you feel connected to your body. You relax. Suddenly, all worries and stress disappear. You’re invaded by a feeling of pure peace that thrills you; you didn’t know you had this calm within you, and you wonder… Where is this inner peace when I need it the most? The truth is that we forget about it, but the good news is that we can get it back by returning to the forests and taking a forest bath, where our bodies and brains feel comfortable because they’re returning to their origins, when we lived in direct contact with nature.
Maybe this ‘forest bath’ sounds strange to you. In case you’ve never heard it before, it’s something that the Japanese have been practicing for years with the name “Shinrin-yoku” and it’s currently being implemented in Catalunya thanks to Asociación Sèlvans. So what is it about? You follow a guided schedule through an oldest forest, meaning a forest that is several years old and emits beneficial substances that we can absorb through our skin and lungs, reporting direct improvements in our nervous system and helping you feel better all around.
Our usual problem is that we walk around stressed all day, and particularly the people who live in big cities and have lost connection to the woods. These two factors make us want to look for some piece of nature over the weekend so we can ‘unplug’ ourselves and instead maybe we need to connect. And you know the worst part? Most kids nowadays don’t have any contact with nature and as a result, they don’t know how to interact with it, meaning they don’t understand the importance of respecting it and keeping it alive. And they are our future!
In Catalunya, most forests are private property and Sèlvans has done a very important job by offering the owners of these forests the same amount of money they would receive from cutting down trees, and with this deal they can’t touch the forests for 25 years. With this great feat of preservation they have managed to increase the amount of mature forests which are so important for our biodiversity. And to make the forests even more valuable, they have designed these scheduled walks in some of them. The walks are easy, accessible and just a few kilometers long, so everybody can benefit from a therapeutic forest bath. The guide takes you through the forest encouraging you to take it slow and quietly, with an open mind to connect with you and with nature.
And where can you take these walks? Right now Asociación Sèlvans has various schedules in Girona, more specifically in Caldes de Malavella, Vidrà, Les Preses/Olor, Sant Hilari Sacalm, Girona, La Jonquera i Tossa de Mar. Each one has its own characteristics and each guide will have their own way of working, so you can try many different combinations!
I really like this project, specially because it’s definitely sustainable. With their motto: “People taking care of forests, forests taking care of people” they help take care of the environment, giving real benefits to local economy like creating jobs for guides. They also offer the possibility of getting involved through their initiative “Compensanatura”, where you can compensate the size of your house (m2) with a donation that helps preserve high-value forests.
I highly encourage you to visit their page, and if you want to spend a nice night out, eat at a good restaurant, and have a relaxing weekend, don’t hesitate to contact me because I have the best and most sustainable activities for you!
Descárgate la guía para conocer los beneficios de viajar de una forma sostenible
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