We invite you to take a slow, mindful Forest Therapy meander along The Zaborin Walk, inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku “Forest Bathing.”

The easeful trail winds through the forest of the Otway Ranges. This lush rainforest haven is known for its therapeutic benefits for our body, mind, and spirit.

The Zaborin Forest Therapy Trail is curated specially for you to experience the many benefits of slowing down and immersing in the medicine of the forest.

This experience is unique to you – we invite you to disconnect from your phone and set an intention to spend about an hour or two in the tranquillity of the forest.

Connecting with nature can help you to:
• Improve your mental and physical health
• Reduce your anxiety and alleviate depressive feelings
• Improve your cardiovascular health
• Sleep better
• Improve your concentration
• Improve your vitality and mood
• Increase your life satisfaction and happiness

“The art of forest bathing is the art of connecting with nature through our senses. All we have to do is accept the invitation.” Qing Li

Before you start your walk, make sure you are dressed appropriately for the weather and wear good walking shoes. Go unplugged from technology and turn off your phone.

Arrive at the start of the trail with an intention to connect with nature. To be… here, now. Look around you and above you, observing and becoming aware of your surroundings. Notice how your feet connect to the earth, holding and supporting you.

Take a moment to notice how you are feeling, releasing any stress or tension with a few deep breaths. It may help to close your eyes. Place your hands on your belly; don’t force your breathing – just become aware of how your body breathes. Gradually relax into a slower, deeper belly breath.

When you are ready, open your eyes step onto the trail. Take time to look around, see and be mindful of where you are right now. Notice the sky and tree tops as you shift your gaze upward. Then, look down and notice the world beneath your feet. Is there something catching your eye? Don’t rush and allow yourself to take a longer look.

“Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.” Thich Nhat Hanh

Quietly walk with a steady step-by-step pace. Look deep into the forest with a soft gaze, through the trees. If you start to feel distracted or rushed, come to a complete halt and focus your attention on something nearby, noticing how it is moving.

Follow your curiosity and look closely at shapes, patterns, colours and details. Let the forest show you something you have not seen before. What else are you noticing?

Tune in and listen to the sounds around you, the sounds close by and far away. Perhaps you can close your eyes and count the different sounds you hear. Then open your mouth and breathe just loudly enough to blend in with the sounds of the forest. Hum along with the wind, return the call of a bird. Tune in also to the quietness as it blends into this moment. Appreciate these moments and the soundscape you are in.

Notice the scents and aromas around you…soil, leaves, bark, flowers. Explore the forest for as many scents as you can distinguish. Find a stick and dig it into the soil, bringing it up to your nose to sniff the earth. How does it smell for you? As you breathe in, notice also the temperature, tastes and textures of the forest air as it enters and exits your nose and mouth.

As you meander through the trail, reach out and touch something you feel drawn to. Discover the different textures of the ferns, the mosses, the bark of a tree, a rock. Pick up something from the forest floor and hold it in your palms. Notice its weight and its colour, trace its contours. Notice the sensations against your skin as you explore nature in this way.

Stop where you can see an entire tree. Select a tree of the many trees around you and slowly trace the outline of that tree with your eyes, starting at the base of the trunk. When you slowly gaze upwards, discover the minute details of this tree. What does it feel like to “meet a tree” in this way?

Trees are sanctuaries.
Whoever knows how to speak to them,
whoever knows how to listen to them,
can learn the truth.
– Hermann Hesse

As you continue to move slowly along the trail, notice what plant, stone, flower, or other being of the forest you feel most drawn to. Introduce yourself and offer your friendship in any way that feels right for you. When you are ready, thank your new friend and continue your walk.

Whenever you find a bench along the trail, take time to sit down and just be. When you feel relaxed and connected, offer gratitude to nature for supporting you during this moment in time.

“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” Joseph Campbell

When you reach the table along the trail, try your hand at creating a little ephemeral sculpture out of twigs, sticks and fallen leaves.

Sit and rest here for a while – “just be” with nature for as long as you like. If you’ve got a notebook, perhaps you feel like sketching or writing a poem.

When you are ready to leave the trail, head up to the tea house, Japanese inspired communal garden room or your Tiny House Deck near your accommodation. Settle into a comfortable chair. Make yourself a warm herbal drink and enjoy a taste of the forest.

Quietly acknowledge everything the forest has given you today. Do whatever feels right for you to express gratitude to the forest.

“Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” Rachel Carson