You are invited to experience the Japanese wellness practice of forest bathing,

SHINRIN YOKU

IN THIS 2.5-HOUR SESSION, your host Paul Mercs will show you how to connect with your natural environment in a mindful way and enjoy the health benefits of this natural meditation-like practice.

Session details:

  • Shinrin Yoku guided walk sessions are 2.5 hours long and include a light lunch
  • Sessions take place on Saturdays and Sundays, 11am to 1:30pm
  • Maximum of 8 people per session
  • CAD $49.50 per adult / CAD $24.75 for children & teens under 18 yrs
  • Book a private session for your group for a flat fee of CDN $325 (maximum 8 people)

Receive a full refund for cancellations up to 2 weeks (14 days) before the scheduled date.

For cancellations less than 2 weeks before the scheduled date (for ANY reason, including inclement weather and Covid-related events) your session will be rescheduled.

The difference between Forest Bathing and hiking:

As with hiking, forest bathing involves walking in the woods, but the focus and the intensity are very different from hiking. Forest bathing is partially aimed at reducing stress, so the exertion and physical stress of a typical hike is not part of this practice. Using the five senses mindfully is essential, so during our shinrin yoku session, you will be invited by your host to embrace your surroundings and self. There is also a ceremonial aspect to forest bathing, including a traditional tea ceremony.

How you will benefit:

Forest bathing has proven to be effective to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. The parasympathetic nervous system is stimulated, and this improves rest and slows down the heart rate while increasing intestinal and gland activity. Forest bathing also improves autonomic and immune functions. It has been used as a natural therapy to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. Health benefits aside, forest bathing is also a very pleasant way of interacting with nature, and a great group activity to share with loved ones.

Along the way our path will include some of the following experiences:

Cedars are of great significance to the Coast Salish people. They provided the material for canoes and paddles, for shelter, baskets and clothing and much more. They represent strength and longevity. The 5 cedars form the gateway separating the more active lower level of Finn Bay Farm from the more contemplative upper level, which will be our destination.

After a gentle climb of a several hundred yards we will take time to listen to the trees, listen to the birds, listen to the silence. As we proceed along the level section of the trial, we have an opportunity to walk slowly and take in the sight of the trees, bushes, the different shades of green, sunlight and shadow.

A short way up the trail is one of the most special trees in the forest. We will visit a giant arbutus tree, one of its roots alone is about 8 inches of thick smooth wood. You may take the time to stand and look up and see this tree’s canopy and feel the beautiful living being’s trunk and root.

Finally, a little father along, we ascend an easy trail to a rocky bluff, moss on granite and surrounded by trees, shrubs and bushes. Here you can get a glimpse of the Salish Sea and nearby Savary Island. It is a big sky there. It is a very powerful place. We will take all of this very special place in. We will sit and feel the moss and see the trees against the sky, hear their movement in the breeze and the ocean through the trees in front of us. 

We will then begin a slow silent mindful walk back down. I will invite you to open your being to be aware of what you see and hear and smell and touch along the way. Before we began our way down, I will ask you to be mindful of what you experienced in each of the places that we experienced during the session.

When we return to the gathering place, we will enjoy a light lunch together and reflect on our experiences.

What to bring, facilities:

  • Be mindful of the weather and bring the appropriate clothing.
  • Bring a sweater or a rain jacket as necessary, plus footwear suitable for this walk on forest trails, and if the weather is cold, think about bringing a hat.
  • Bring your own drinking water.
  • In the event of rain, there will be a tent roof to keep dry at the gathering place. There will be tables and chairs, under that roof to relax when lunch was served after the event.
  • In the circumstance of severe weather we will contact you at least 3 hours prior to the session and let you know if the session is postponed.

About your host, Paul Mercs:

Paul spent his early childhood in the forests surrounding his family’s farm at the foot of Mt Begbie and beside the Columbia River near Revelstoke, BC. He spent several years studying, then travelling in Europe, and building a career promoting some of the biggest musical acts in the world. Along the way he raised a family, attended law school and was called to the bar in British Columbia, while continuing to promote concerts.

In 2015, he purchased a beautiful piece of property in Lund, BC.  Finn Bay Farm Retreat is now well on its way to becoming the place Paul envisioned when he first saw the property: A place to share with as many people as possible who share his interests of nature and our relationship to trees, to food and the growing of food, to music, and to animals. Those things which have made his life rich beyond measure.

Now being able to offer himself as a Shinrin Yoku guide is a transforming step along the path he follows.

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