Shinrin-yoku forest bathing
Scientific studies have proved an increased blood flow in certain parts of the brain, stimulated by being in peace in a forest. Compared with being in a city.
In Japan Shinrin-yoku, forest bathing has been practiced in hundreds of years. It was though as late as in the 1980es it got a name; Shinrin-yoku. Sitting on a piece of wood in the forest surrounded by trees and leaves, and just observing. Listening to the birds, feeling the wind, and taking in the sensation.
Bonsai enthusiasts may get some of the same effects I think if bonsai is used not just as a piece to work on.
If we use our bonsai not just for competition and work, but simply studying them, they will bring peace.
The calm and peacefulness found in the forest can be found in bonsai. Set up a bonsai on a table, and begin just watching it. No tools, no thoughts about what to do next.
Just watch. The bark. The root surface. The branches. The leaves.
I am fortunate to live in the countryside. I am busy with my job, and it can be very stressful. Therefore my bonsai and garden is my place to find peace. With my bonsai and garden work. But remembering to not just work is essential to be in balance.
I remember the effect bonsai had on me at the very first visit to Japan back in 1999. It was exactly the peacefulness and silent beauty that overwhelmed me. Therefore I have always fancied the more traditional way of bonsai because it is where I find the feeling of peace and harmony. There is a timeless feeling I do not find otherwise.
Mini forest style
A small forest can do the job. Last year I started to create miniature forests from very simple material. With the right material at hand, it isn’t difficult, and accessible for most of us. Using field maples or Japanese maples, it is possible to create a Shohin sized (max. 20 cm. high) you can hold in your hand. I also work on Yew-forests in a bit larger scale, up till 35 cm.
Simple work with simple material, that gives a lot of pleasure. And peace in mind.