Living in a fast-paced society means we are generally obsessed with speed, especially when it comes to running. If I can get a dollar for every “I am not fast enough” type of post that I saw on social media after the Singapore marathon weekend, I would have enough money to buy myself a few pairs of trail running shoes for the new year. Completing 42.195km is no easy feat to begin with, but yet I see many runners beating themselves up for not achieving a PB or a better time. I really wish for some runners to celebrate their courage to toe the start line, as well as their amazing grit and determination when they crossed the finish line.
Becoming an ultra trail runner has taught me to slow down and appreciate the beauty that nature has to offer. Even though at times it wasn’t by choice when confronted by daunting elevated terrains or when sheer distance and fatigue reduce my physical body to a crawl. That was when I learnt about shinrin-yoku, literally translated into the Japanese language as “forest bathing”.
The true spirit of shinrin-yoku is to immerse oneself in nature by disconnecting from the city life and unplugging from technology and digital devices. However, I very much prefer to capture some of the sights using my phone cam while I am hiking to immortalise those amazing sightings to share with others. I hope the pictures will be able to inspire some to head outdoors and seek their own dose of connection with nature.
Being in nature keeps us grounded and revitalises our soul. Studies have proved that when we breathe in the phytoncides produced by the plants, it can give a boost to our immune system and help to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve our mood.
The next time you head to the nature reserve or park, instead of running, why not take a hike and seek out a connection with nature through your senses. Listen to the sounds of the forests, smell the scents on the trails, enjoy the visual beauty around you, and touch the plants.