I began working with Duncan Murdoch in the early 2021. Duncan is a Certified Nature & Forest Therapy guide and the Director of Nature Connection Guide located in northern Vermont. One of the things that drew me to Duncan’s work was his willingness to embrace technology in order to help educate people in the benefits of forest bathing and nature connection.
Forest Bathing Life App
Duncan created the Forest Bathing Life app as a way for people to learn about the principles and application of forest bathing. This app has been constantly evolving since I started working with him and it now contains six different sections that support nature connection. These sections include: a a five part forest bathing fundamentals course, nature sounds library, 30 day sit spot celebration, 10-20 min forest bathing drop-in sessions, and several modules that make up the six-week forest bathing experience.
Six-Week Forest Bathing Experience
Engaging in the six-week forest bathing experience was my introduction to Duncan’s approach to forest therapy. I was immediately drawn to the flexibility that the app provided. Like most people, my work and home commitments often don’t leave me a lot of free time. The app allowed me to engage in forest bathing activities at my convenience. I often did my daily session before 5:00 am as the sun was rising over the mountains
Besides the flexibility of the experience, it was comprehensive and well planned. Each week focuses on a different sense and the final week is a synthesis of the complete experience. The activities for these weekly sessions include daily sense-based practices, a recorded virtual forest bathing walk, supplemental readings or videos, and a weekly forest bathing circle call where you can talk with others about their experiences, share stories, and build a community around the practice.
Duncan says that the goal of the program is to help the user not only learn about forest bathing, but to also help them integrate the practice into their own life. He is hoping that people will be able to benefit from this practice that has been shown to increase well-being and reduce stress, while connecting with their local nature community.
Why Forest Bathing?
Last week, I received an email from Duncan saying that he was getting ready to launch another six-week forest bathing experience. This time he was going to offer both a fully-remote and hybrid experience. He was looking to gather a group of interested practitioners to go through this experience together so that they can benefit from that shared experience.
When speaking about the reason behind this experience, Duncan says,
“Humanity is facing a global crisis which in my view stems from our disconnection to the natural world. Many of us suffer from a “nature deficit” as we spend more and more time indoors. Did you know that an average American spends 90% indoors. It’s a similar story around the world! Think of your typical day. Between your home, car and place of work, what percentage is outdoors?
With time in nature decreasing, many of us are suffering from stress and anxiety. And with that stress comes inflammation: the root of so many ailments and illnesses.
The overall design of our lives within this construct that we have collectively created as a modern society has forced us to prioritize issues and matters unrelated to our health in relation to nature. It is now more common knowledge to recognize corporate logos than it is to know the different species of trees around us.
We must break free of this cycle! What we need is a practice, a guide and a community to help us stay on the path. So much of nature connection is time: it is time logged outdoors and being in a special state of mind. I want this six-week experience to help create a different routine, a different way of seeing and interacting with the world. One that is new yet deeply familiar. There is so much awe, so much simplicity, complexity, beauty and intrigue waiting to be discovered. The practice of forest bathing is the path that helps reveal this.”
Duncan sees the current mental and physical health challenges as a symptom of our individual disconnection from nature. He also believes that forest bathing practices can bring us back in touch with nature and help us achieve a higher level of well-being.
The next six-week forest bathing program begins on August 30th and Duncan has created a special 15% discount for those who read NaturalistWeekly. Use the code “NaturalistWeekly” at checkout to access this discount when you enroll in either the fully remote or hybrid version of the six week forest bathing experience.
If you have ever wanted to learn more about Forest Bathing, or are struggling to find the time to be able to engage in consistent nature connection practice, the app and the six-week experience might be the right fit for you.
I know that I have enjoyed my time working with Duncan. I also credit this program for helping me reestablish my sit spot routine. My sit spot has been transformational for personal well-being, nature connection, and writing practice.
If you want to talk more information about this experience or any of the other services that Duncan offers visit his website at NatureConnectionGuide.com.