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Guided ‘forest bathing’ walks at Sugarloaf

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 | Posted by
Guide M. Amos Clifford stops to feel the texture of a tree during a shinrin-yoku walk near Lake Ralphine in Santa Rosa. (ALVIN JORNADA / For the Press Democrat)

Guide M. Amos Clifford stops to feel the texture of a tree during a Shinrin-yoku walk near Lake Ralphine in Santa Rosa. (ALVIN JORNADA / For the Press Democrat)

Experience the soothing and therapeutic powers of nature during guided Japanese-style Shinrin-yoku walks this summer at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, 2605 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood.

Walks will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. July 9 and 30 and Aug. 2, 13 and 21.

The gentle walks of less than 1 mile include “mindfulness” meditation practices that open the senses to nature. Participants will experience the practice of “forest bathing” through sensory immersion.

Walks are held along trails below the forest canopy. The walks are led by M. Amos Clifford, author of “A Little Handbook of Shinrin-Yoku” and founder of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs.

Clifford, who lives on Sonoma Mountain, says the practice is calming and healing, inviting well-being and good health.

Established in Japan in the 1980s, Shinrin-yoku is now a standard part of preventative care and healing in Japanese medicine.

A training and certification program for forest therapy guides will be held from Sept. 1 to 5 in Sonoma County.

Therapists, health care workers, educators, spiritual leaders and others interested in the practice of Shinrin-yoku will learn the complete system of eco-therapy.

Shinrin-yoku walks are $20; parking is $8. Reservations are required.

Visit shinrin-yoku.org to register or for more information about the upcoming training program.

Read a feature story about Shinrin-yoku here.

Writer Spotlight

Dianne Reber Hart is our Sonoma correspondent.

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