What better place to have your first forest bathing experience than sunny Mauritius?
I wasn’t even sure what it meant until I headed into the depths of Heritage Le Telfair’s Domaine in Bel Ombre in the south of the island.
A reiki master drove our group from the Golf & Spa resort into the depths of the lush green forest to help us achieve calm and serenity among the wilderness.
You may not think deer and monkeys running through the hills makes for the most ideal way to chill out but you’d be surprised.
Here’s what I learned from the outing.
You haven’t truly relaxed until you learn how to be quiet
I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy numerous vacations in my life, both domestic and abroad, and while I’ve often returned feeling rejuvenated and motivated, it’s easy to confuse that with utter relaxation. I only learned the true meaning after parking up and traipsing through the trees to perch by a stream.
Our guide encouraged us to be comfortable without unnecessary constant chatter and listen to the sounds around us. Whether birds chirping, leaves blowing in the gentle breeze or even one’s own thoughts, it’s rare get the chance to drown out the din.
Within 15 minutes I was already feeling the benefits.
2. Nature is the best medicine
While I wouldn’t usually swap the sandy shores of Mauritius (or anywhere for that matter) for the lush forest, I’m glad I did. All the greenery is a treat for the eyes and when the only distraction is a waterfall, you know your mind is being freed from day-to-day anxieties that come with the hustle and bustle of life.
Unlike on a beach which is more likely to be very populated in a tourist location, an escape to the forest is a sight for sore eyes.
3. Look at your palms, not palm trees
While getting our shoes dirty hiking, our guide – also a reiki master – attempted to teach us how to feel a person’s ora. It involved holding our palm near the person whose ora you’re reading and scanning the body from top to toe, looking our for any interruptions along the way. For example if the palm felt warm while moving down near the heart or stomach, it correlated to a certain issues or emotions.
While our group of amateurs had trouble getting the hang of it, I’m sure with a bit more practice at channelling our inner reiki master, we’d be great. Even while sitting down to take in the fresh air our reiki master recommended we turn our palms up to the air.
4. Waterfalls are like a massage from nature
Our guide led us to a serene spot where we removed our shoes to dip our toes in the running water. Forget a hydrotherapy pool, leaving our feet under the running H2O was all we need to unwind and rest our tired tootsies. The sweetest surprise of our forest bathing experience was tucked away in a place that isn’t very visible to someone spontaneously strolling through the Heritage Le Telfair Domaine and literally put the ‘bathing’ element in my first go at ‘forest bathing’.
5. It’s ideal whatever the weather
If you’re thinking of booking a trip somewhere to truly let go of life’s stresses, opt for forest spot or a resort like Heritage Le Telfair which offers excursions. It’s a great way to unwind without relying on bikini weather; it’s just as pleasant to go for a long walk when the temperatures are cooler or even in light drizzle. After a couple of hours walking in the forest I was glad I’d discovered the Japanese practice that was dreamed up in 1982 to combat stress in busy cities. I’m sure you will too.
Forest bathing costs £32 per person at Heritage Le Telfair. Get more information at www.heritageresorts.mu.