Despite being named the unhappiest city in the country, Vancouver offers some of the most scenic places to enjoy forest bathing.
Most working Vancouverites experience a great deal of stress, and spending too much of their time in the city's streets isn't helping.
What does help, however, is taking some time to relax in the forest. In fact, sitting in a forest for just 15 minutes can significantly drop your blood pressure, heart rate and stress-hormone levels compared to spending the same time in a city.
Vancouver Is Awesome spoke to Ken Ouendag, who is leading a walk based on the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, through Stanley Park.
“We often take to the trails with a goal of increasing our fitness, but few people truly notice what is in the environment around them. By slowing down, calming our minds and increasing our sensory awareness, forest therapy walks open the door to the healing power of the woods," he said.
He described a number of places that are ideal for enjoying time out of the concrete jungle.
- Lighthouse Park
This old-growth forest has an intricate network of trails, and it's easily accessible by transit. The northeastern edge of the park is less traveled since it's further away from the lighthouse, and therefore you'll get to experience more peace and relaxation.
2. Pacific Spirit Regional Park
This beautiful old-growth forest provides over 70 km of walking trails as well as plenty of small side trails. As such, it isn't hard to find a perfectly quiet spot to escape.
3. Stanley Park
Beaver Lake and the trails near Third Beach offer extremely lovely places to unwind and soak in the beauty of nature. What's more, these scenic spots are extremely accessible from downtown Vancouver, and therefore you won't have to get stressed out trying to reach them.
4. Minoru Park
Located in Richmond, Minoru Park is one of the most accessible parks for people in the city. With that being said, it may feel less remote than some of the other parks, but it still offers a serene place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
5. Rice Lake
Located on the North Shore, this pleasant location offers visitors the chance to soak in the calming waters as they unwind and relax. Being by the water is extremely calming, and offers the ideal place to meditate.
Participants in “The Nature Prescription” are invited to gather at 1 PM on Sunday, September 23 at the 19 Stanley Park Bus Loop in Vancouver, BC.
Space is limited. Book your free tickets here. Donations welcome.