Remember the past blog about “Mindful Movement” and how being in nature with your horse can have such wonderful benefits to your health?
Well, it’s not only being in green space and moving intentionally in nature with your horse, listening to the sounds, enjoying the scents, and feeling the breeze on your skin that has health benefits for your body, mind, and spirit. Just being around trees also has incredible benefits.
Have you heard about Japanese Forest Bathing (Shinrin-Yoku)?
This has been a pillar of Japanese culture for years. Shinrin-Yoku is a way to reconnect with nature by intentionally, mindfully, walking through a wooded area, just sitting in a grove of trees taking a break from work, going to a local park, and even walking barefoot on a beautiful green lawn.
Here are a few of the health benefits of walking mindfully through the woods:
- Lifts Depression
- Lowers the body’s Stress Hormones
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Protection from germs and insects
- Boosts the immune system
- Increases natural cure cells in the body
- Lowers heart rate
- Boosts energy
- Improves well-being
- Improves the quality of sleep
- Increases concentration
- Increases memory
- Increases positive feelings and decreases negative feelings
This has all been documented in Forest Medicine research and described in many books. A renowned researcher in this field, Dr. Qing Li’s research has proven that spending time around trees (even filling your home with houseplants and using essential tree oils in aromatherapy) can have the above benefits.
One of the reasons I find this so wonderful is that most of us horse owners do this naturally when we go for a ride through wooded trails or take a walk through the woods with our horses.
But the difference between getting these results or not, is in one little detail…
If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while you will hear me tell you how important your intentions are when you’re working with your horse. They can be the difference between “asking” your horse and “telling” your horse something.
This minor detail is a huge deal for your horse. It is the difference between your horse cooperating with you and listening because he wants to as opposed to him begrudgingly doing it or even fighting you over it.
The little things mean a lot to your horse.
Well, the little thing like intentionally or mindfully walking through a wooded area, or a green park trail, or even walking through a lush pasture with your horse is a big deal. That one little thing can even make a big difference to your own health.
Next time you are in the woods with your horse, stop and take a deep breath. Relax and really look around and notice what you are looking at. Take pause and enjoy the sounds, and sights, and beauty in the woods. Be intentional with your thoughts and feelings.
Next time you are with your horse and you are just walking up to the gate together as you cross through the green pasture, or even walking together through your backyard side-by-side…take note of all the beauty around you and take your time. Stop and smell the roses, so to speak.
Stop thinking about your own agenda, or what happened at work, or what you need to do when you get home.
Start thinking of how wonderful you feel just being with your horse. How warm and bright the day is. How great the sun feels on your skin or the breeze that you feel. How sweet it is to hear the birds singing or the crickets chirping. How green and gorgeous the grass is, or the beauty of the tall trees swaying in the wind.
Admire, appreciate, and be grateful for the lovely nature around you, including your horse. This will not only bring you better health, but it will bring your horse closer to you because you are now inside his world and seeing it through his eyes.
Being intentional will make an amazing difference in your life.
This will make the world of difference to your horse as well. This one little shift will develop a natural desire in your horse to want to be with you. This will also produce a desire in your horse to want to start a two-way conversation with you to bring you both closer.
Such a small shift in you, being mindful, can create a big difference in your relationship with your horse.
Try it and let me know in the comments how it went. I’m excited to hear about what you notice.
Do you know someone who needs to see this? Please share it. I would be eternally grateful. My purpose is to reach and support as many horse owners as I can.