Shinrin-Yoku: The Japanese Art of Forest Bathing 🌿🍃💚

Colorado, Mind

Forest baths are a cornerstone of Japanese preventative medicine.

Tabernash

Forest bathing emerged in Japan in the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise called shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”). 

Shinrin-Yoku

Forest bathing or forest therapy means taking in, with all of one’s senses, the forest atmosphere. Shinrin-yoku is the conscious and contemplative practice of being immersed in the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feelings of the forest. The practice was developed in Japan during the 1980s, with Japan adopting the practice into its national health program in 1982. Forest baths have since become a cornerstone of preventative healthcare and healing in Japanese medicine.

Shinrin-yoku is like a bridge. By opening our senses, it bridges the gap between us and the natural world.

Benefits of Forest Bathing

Researchers, primarily in Japan and South Korea, have established a growing body of scientific literature on the diverse health benefits of shinrin-yoku.

Spending time amongst the trees has calming neuro-psychological effects through changes in the nervous system, reducing the stress hormone – cortisol – and boosting the immune system. Shinrin-yoku has resulted in decreases in stress, anger, anxiety, depression and sleeplessness amongst study participants. Additionally, after just 15 minutes of forest bathing, blood pressure drops, stress levels are reduced, and concentration and mental clarity improve.

There are now 44 accredited Shinrin-Yoku forests in Japan, with the research conducted helping to establish Shinrin-Yoku and forest therapy throughout the world. 

This is not exercise, or hiking, or jogging. It is simply being in nature, connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Shinrin-yoku is like a bridge. By opening our senses, it bridges the gap between us and the natural world.

Dr. Qing Li’s Guide to Forest Medicine

From FOREST BATHING: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness by Dr. Qing Li, published on April 17, 2018 by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Qing Li, 2018.

First, find a spot. Make sure you have left your phone and camera behind. You are going to be walking aimlessly and slowly. You don’t need any devices. Let your body be your guide. Listen to where it wants to take you. Follow your nose. And take your time. It doesn’t matter if you don’t get anywhere. You are not going anywhere. You are savoring the sounds, smells, and sights of nature and letting the forest in.

The key to unlocking the power of the forest is in the five senses. Let nature enter through your ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands and feet. Listen to the birds singing and the breeze rustling in the leaves of the trees. Look at the different greens of the trees and the sunlight filtering through the branches. Smell the fragrance of the forest and breathe in the natural aromatherapy of phytoncides. Taste the freshness of the air as you take deep breaths. Place your hands on the trunk of a tree. Dip your fingers or toes in a stream. Lie on the ground. Drink in the flavor of the forest and release your sense of joy and calm. This is your sixth sense, a state of mind. Now you have connected with nature. You have crossed the bridge to happiness.

When it comes to finding calm and relaxation, there is no one-size-fits-all solution – it differs from person to person. It is important to find a place that suits you. If you love the smell of damp soil, you will be most relaxed where the natural landscape provides it. Then the effects of the forest will be more powerful. Maybe you have a place in the countryside that reminds you of your childhood or of happy times in the past. These places will be special to you and your connection with them will be strong.

When you have been busy at work all week, it can be hard to slow down. You may have been rushing around so much you no longer know how to stand still. Walking with a guide who is a trained forest therapist can help you feel more comfortable and find the right environment to fit your needs. In one of my favorite forests, Iinan Furusato-no-Mori, the forest-therapy program includes guided walks. Doctors are on hand to offer general health assessments. When you arrive, you are given a physical health check and a psychological questionnaire. The therapist then works out the best walking plan for you.

But it is just as easy to forest-bathe without a guide. And there are many different activities you can do in the forest that will help you to relax and to connect with nature. Here are some of the things people do: forest walking, yoga, eating in the forest, hot-spring therapy, T’ai chi, meditation, breathing exercises, aromatherapy, art classes and pottery, Nordic walking and plant observation. It doesn’t matter how fit – or unfit – you are. Shinrin-yoku is suitable for any level of fitness.

You can forest-bathe anywhere in the world – wherever there are trees; in hot weather or in cold; in rain, sunshine or snow. You don’t even need a forest. Once you have learned how to do it, you can do shinrin-yoku anywhere – in a nearby park or in your garden. Look for a place where there are trees, and off you go!

Elise’s Tips for Forest Bathing

  • Unplug. Leave behind your phone, or other distractions, so you can be fully present in the experience.
  • Wander. Allow yourself to leave behind your goals & expectations, following your body’s natural compass.
  • Pause. Take time to look more closely at your surroundings.

I love collecting plants and using them as bookmarks! That way I’m able to preserve a piece of a certain place and take it with me! Thanks babe for picking this for me 🙂

Establishing Boundaries

Fashion, Shopping, Wellness

Boundaries define who we are and who we are not…

Learning how to set boundaries with yourself and others is a huge part of growing up. Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. Thus, boundaries define who we are and who we are not.

Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who is allowed to touch us or enter our space, and under what circumstances; Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions; Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative, or negative emotions of others; and, Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give us the redemption and renewal we need for this life.

Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. This has definitely been something I’ve struggled with personally. However, it is important to consider these questions:

– Can I set limits and still be a loving person?
– What are legitimate boundaries?
– What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
– How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money?
– Aren’t boundaries selfish?
– Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?

Outfit Details

The Drop Women’s Eloise Long Sleeve


AG Adriano Goldschmied Women’s Sloan Vintage Straight Leg Jean, Years Paradise Found

Don’t Be Afraid to Rest

Mind

If there’s one thing we learned in the last year, it’s that sometimes we need a breather!

Waimea Valley, Hawaii

I feel God telling me: don’t be afraid to rest. I’ve been working on my next book, as well as a number of different projects and I wanted to share a sample from my book:

There are a lot of people who idolize working and exhaustion. There really are many people who need to take a break. Maybe COVID forced it on you. I felt like that was me, in a way. We are going to also need to reevaluate how we balance rest with the rest of our lives. Leisure has many benefits and we have not been allowing enough of it. People work best when they are more refreshed, and I hope to see more workplaces offer unlimited time off.

I was reading the Bible and found that before the series of plages in Egypt, Pharaoh hated when the Israelite slaves were idle. 

But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice to the Lord. Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given unto you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks. 

Exodus 7:17-18

 I think it’s so interesting that this culture of working and a focus on daily tasks is called out by God. The Israelite people wanted to serve God. I really felt this because trying to devote myself to this ministry hasn’t been easy. Lots of people have told me that I should go get a job and make this my side thing. But I don’t want a side thing. I want the only thing. I want to be all in! I wish that more of us could go all in, more often. It would really change the potential of our world. Because going all in requires just that mustard seed of faith. So whatever dream you have, keep pursuing, believing, and preparing for God to do something big in your life. I believe that we are called to live healthy and in order to do so we cannot be exhausted so make sure that you are taking care of yourself. We need to have energy, we need to be ready to move. 

Pansy Salad

Nutrition

These edible flowers brighten any dish

Pansy Salad with Celery & Lettuce

My friend Dakota posted that her mom grew some pansies. I decided to pick some up and added them to a simple salad with lettuce & celery.

I love flowers, and these were the perfect decorative addition to my meal. I also added them to a spicy ahi bowl that I bought. They’re just a fun way to decorate your dishes.

Early 2000s Sunglasses + Sunday Morning Coffee

Fashion

I love the coffee that they serve at Inspire Waikele!

It was my first time back to a church service this year! It’s crazy that it’s already the last day of January. I hope the first month of 2021 has gone well for all of you.

My outfit today centered around these sunglasses I found from when I was a little girl. This era was also that of the pink coach bag.

Initially I planned to attend service at the Cathedral because I forgot that they had suspended services due to the rise in cases. Hopefully they are able to reopen soon.

Luckily, I made it in time for the last service at Inspire – which was at 11am. I love their coffee & love the stamp they use…

Love God, Love People, Love Coffee ☕️

What an awesome motto to have going into the second month of 2021. I hope that you are on track to achieve your goals – and if you’re not, I hope you are able to recenter. 🧘‍♀️

Winter Dinner: Hawaiian Style Beef Stew

Nutrition

This recipe is courtesy of Susan Wong & is perfect for an island winter.

It really seems to get colder every year here in Hawaii! I’ve been shopping for a weighted blanket since the temperatures are really starting to drop. I am also working on creating a “Shop” page where you will be able to find all of my favorite products 🙂

The last three years, I’ve spent the winters near the ocean. Being on the hillside now, I’m so cold!!! In the mornings, especially – I don’t want to get out of bed! I’m looking at getting a heated blanket, but I am kind of in denial because I live in Hawaii.

Anyway, one of my favorite comfort meals for dropping temperatures is beef stew ❤ This is an island classic that I hope you enjoy!

Recipe Credit: Susan Wong

This Hawaiian Style Beef Stew features cooked tender chunks of meat, in a beef and tomato flavored gravy with potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery. Brown the meat in a separate pan so it will brown evenly, while adding a tremendous amount of flavor. Use a nonstick wok, pressure cooker, or large sautee pan.

Hawaiian Style Beef Stew

Ingredients

3 pounds boneless beef chuck, cut into 1” cubes

1/3 cup flour

1 tsp. seasoned salt

1 large onion, diced small

2 stalks celery, diced small

1 14oz. can Italian stewed tomatoes

1 8oz. can tomato sauce

22 oz. water, use the cans to measure

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

¼ tsp. pepper

1- 2 cloves garlic, minced

4 carrots, chunked into bite size pieces

4 red potatoes, chunked into bite size pieces

Directions

Trim fat from the chuck and cut into 1” cubes. Place in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with the seasoned salt and flour. Mix the flour in to the meat well until it is all absorbed. Place the stewed tomatoes into a large pot and crush them with your hands to break up into smaller pieces. Then add the tomato sauce, water, salt, pepper, sugar and garlic.

Heat a nonstick pan or wok on med-high heat and add 2 Tbsp. oil. Add ½ the meat to the pan and spread out but don’t stir. Let cook for a couple of minutes to brown. Then turn meat to brown evenly. Remove browned meat with a tong or slotted spoon so the oil will stay in the pan. Place the meat in the pot with the tomatoes.  Cook the other half of the meat the same way.

In the same pan sauté the onions and celery until soft. Add to the pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer covered for 1 hour or until meat is tender. Add potatoes and carrots and cook for another 15 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are cooked.

Recipe: The Mimi Salad

Nutrition

I made this detox salad, along with some roasted vegetables, for dinner tonight!

The Mimi Salad by Miya Recipes

When I went to Zupan’s Markets in Portland, I decided to get ingredients to make a healthy meal. I knew that I’d be eating out for the most-part – since I wanted to try places while traveling – but wanted to make sure that I had the option to eat healthy.

After a few days of heavy eating, I wasn’t very hungry this evening. I decided that it would be the perfect time for me to make the Detox Salad I shopped for earlier this week. To go along with it, I roasted some vegetables in the oven. I tossed the leftovers from each plate into a leftover container for a quick Buddha bowl tomorrow. If you want, you can easily throw in your choice of rice, beans, or toppings.

I used to be so adamant about doing everything myself, but now feel less guilty about buying preshredded carrots – and other like items – if it means that I’ll save a lot of time, headache, or cleanup. Time is of the essence at this point in my life, so I am more willing to make these small changes, pay a little more, and enjoy the convenience.

Here’s the recipe! If you try it, make sure you let me know by tagging @miyadaughters. I’d love to see your take on the Mimi Salad!

The Mimi Detox Salad

Prep Time 15 minutes

Cook Time 5 minutes

Total Time 20 minutes

This detox salad features pomegranates, lemon dressing, and a variety of vegetables. You don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to enjoy this nutritious, light dish. The perfect entree salad, great for sharing, this will be a go-to favorite. Though sweet, pomegranates have an impressive nutrient profile and is high in fiber, protein, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, and Potassium.

Course: Salad

Cuisine: Vegan

Keyword: pomegranate salad, vegan, vegetarian

Servings: 2 servings

Author: Elise Hatsuko

Ingredients

  • 1 head of butter lettuce
  • 1/3 cup of shredded carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 cup of pomegranate seeds
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper

Directions

  • Roast vegetables at 350 degrees.
  • Wash butter lettuce leaves and tear. Spread over plate.
  • Sprinkle shredded carrots over bed of lettuce.
  • String celery and break into bite-sized pieces. Line outside of plate with pieces.
  • Halve cucumbers and arrange.
  • Garnish with pomegranate seeds generously.
  • Squeeze lemon juice over everything & enjoy!

Fill up with healthy and nutritious fruits & vegetables!

Movement Influencers to Follow

Movement

Because who doesn’t need this kind of content on their feed?

Parker Pilates – Los Angeles, California

I have followed Parker Pilates instructor, Betsy, for years now! A class with her is on my bucket list and I have actually learned so much from just her videos. She does a bit of cadillac work, as well as reformer work (as shown above). One of the best moments of my life was when she commented on one of my Instagram photos!

Melissa Wood Health – New York, New York

Melissa Wood-Tepperberg is one of my longtime favorite wellness influencers. Aside from posting about motherhood and movement, she creates a lot of content around her plant-based lifestyle. I have really watched Melissa grow and even followed her journey through a pilates instructor program years back. She does a lot of balance work, and has really gotten me into short flows (that add up a lot over time!).

Movement by MK – Chicago, Illinois

As I mentioned, I’m trying to introduce weights back into my workout routine this year. I recently started following MaryKate Schmidt, who has really awesome exercise and lifting sets on video. I’ll have to order a new pair of hand weights since I moved!

2021 Intention + Goals

Mind, Spirit

What are yours?

Looking Back On 2020

My New Years’ resolution for 2020 was to have faith. Boy, was my faith tested this year. I think as a society, we collectively had to learn to have faith. Back in March, when things were changing so rapidly and we were all just getting used to this new way of life, we had to have faith in God to get us through and trust in those He gave authority to. I am so grateful to all of our public servants, who have done their best to lead us through unprecedented and extremely difficult times.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no-one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:8–10

Ephesians says that we are saved through faith. In Latin, we paid a lot of attention to prepositions, and “through” demonstrates the power that faith has in our lives. Here, through would mean “ by means of.” So, you have been saved by means of faith. Having faith allows us to be saved by God because we allow Him to work on us, in our lives, and with ease.

When I decided to come to San Francisco, I kept thinking of Lot’s wife. If you don’t know the story of Lot, he lived in the city of Sodom, which was full of sin (Genesis 19). He felt the Lord was going to destroy the city and he flees with his family. However, when the Lord destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah, Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.

Some argue that her look back was an indication of her secret longing for a sinful life. But what if it was not so much a longing for something — but a fear of loss? Lot’s family was evacuating, which meant that they were leaving everything they had. Their home, possessions, and life. Is Lot’s wife’s reaction more about her unwillingness to lose or her lack of faith in future life prospects?

Here’s what Jesus had to say:

“‘It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulphur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. ‘It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no-one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no-one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.
‭‭Luke‬ ‭17:28–33‬ ‭

Looking Forward to 2021

With the dawn of a new year, I’m so excited to share my 2021 Intention: Consistency. If you know me, you know that I can be a little sporadic. I recognize that I feel a lot better when I stick to my routines and that the structure they provide me with, alongside the otherwise unstructured life I live, supports my success.

I also have three goals for the year. When making your own, it’s important for your goals to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-framed)!

1) Start making money!

After thinking about it for a year (since I really started this), I have enrolled in a course to help me with my blog! Up until now, I’ve been experimenting on my own and have learned so much. However, I’m excited to learn how to generate profits!

2) Reimplement weight training once a week.

Since gyms closed, I have kind of neglected weight training in my movement routine. I know that working with weights gives me more energy and I want to start this up again!

3) Be strict with myself about my bedtime.

As I’ve gotten older, sleep has become more of an issue. I miss the days when it simply wasn’t. However, I find that an early bedtime helps me get the rest I need to function optimally (since I wake up sooo early regardless). I plan to start enforcing my bedtime so I can feel better.

Share your 2021 Intention + Goals with me in the comments! Wishing all a fabulous New Year! Blessings in 2021!