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Forest Bathing at Mount Tomah

Updated: Dec 10, 2023

I had the pleasure of Forest Bathing for the first time ever with Mayu Kataoka last Sunday. Of course I dragged Eric Brocken along for the journey. He couldn't resist having used Mount Tomah as his personal office for many years as a horticulturist and ranger.

A little background on Mayu. Over the past ten years the path of Mayu's trees and nature photography has led her to a new career as a forest therapy guide.

"I felt that nature had been talking to me through a multitude of experiences, sights , sounds, touch and the scent of the forest".

It unfolded something like this - a small group of us listened to Mayu's definition and history of forest bathing then we very slowly walked down into a rainforest Eric was quite familiar with. We paused to listen me aningfully to sounds in front, to the sides and behind us. This was revelatory although I couldn't quite get my ears to hear sounds behind me but Eric could.



 

After listening to whipbirds and other native creatures without any thought of the next destination, I can say my hearing is much the better for lingering in the peaceful bush.

Mayu makes sure everyone has plenty of space around them as we slowly traverse our way down into the rainforest portion of the park.

She has lots of clever exercises that get you into her "zone" of tranquility. A personal favourite as a fellow teacher was the use of magnifying glasses.

Another great review from the www.forestminds.com website - "my favourite activity is noticing and discovering the forest using a magnifier . Who knew I had so much love and fascination with little ants that typically would go unnoticed ".

Another personal highlight was literally hugging a tree ! There were so many clusters of trees on the forest floor I felt at times as though I had stumbled into some bizarre tree convention.

The tea ceremony at the end was a nice touch and typical of Mayu's generosity .





















Some reviews ;" Mayus lovely manner and detailed explanations were a real treat. I also enjoyed meeting a tree and not feeling the pressure to walk quickly or arrive at a destination".


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