It all started with the river...and the idea behind Riverwalking was several years in the making. Helene, the founder of Adirondack Riverwalking, asked her partner, Bob, to take her fly fishing several years ago. She enjoyed every aspect of the experience - that is, until she caught a fish. Although the trout was released, the potential stress and harm caused to the fish took away from her enjoyment of fly fishing. After watching Bob return from fly fishing, relaxed and mellow time and time again, she took to the river in waders, not to pursue the catch, but simply to enjoy the flow of the water against her, the sound of the river around her and the beauty of nature. Her desire to share this joyful experience with others led to the creation of Adirondack Riverwalking and to Riverwalking as a guided mindful nature experience. Today, Bob joins her in co-leading trips.
Bringing Forest Bathing to the Adirondacks
Suzanne spent her childhood in the woods north of the Adirondack Park where she felt a deep sense of belonging and delight with all her nature discoveries. She returned to this area decades later, and recaptured her sense of wonder in nature. Suzanne had been tracking for several years the progress of Forest Bathing into the United States from Japan, where it originated more than two decades ago. Last spring Suzanne inspired Helene, her yoga teacher partner, to complete the training as Forest Therapy Guide with the Association of Nature Therapy Guides and Programs. This summer they are excited to introduce Forest Bathing to the northern Adirondacks.
Benefits of Forest Bathing and Riverwalking
More than two decades of studies in Japan, the United States, and abroad have identified some of the benefits as reduced stress, lowered blood pressure and heart rate, a stronger immune system, reduced anxiety and greater attention and concentration. Participants also have reported feeling profoundly relaxed yet energized, feeling lighter, happier and having a quieter mind, which for some was a new experience. Read more about benefits here.
Nature's Role in Sensory Immersion
Nature is always here and now, never past, nor future, always fresh. Nature is a great teacher of mindfulness when we approach it through our senses. And we give back to nature by acknowledging its inherent intelligence and wisdom. Plant biologists have learned in the last decade that plants and trees have cognition. Check out our resource page for suggested readings about plant and tree sentience. As we reconnect with nature, it also reconnects with us. We experience how interdependent our lives and our beings truly are.