Big Ivy is an area of Pisgah National Forest near Great Tree with unusually diverse eco-systems that vary in elevation and soil types. Weather permitting, we will meet at Great Tree and travel together to Big Ivy where we will climb the gravel road, stopping at a few different elevations to intimately engage trees and plants from bud to leaf stage, ephemeral wildflowers, and waterfalls.
Shinrin-yoku, often translated as Forest Bathing, began as a health promotion movement in Japan around 1982. Promoted by the Japanese government, it stimulated research into the health benefits of spending time in the woods. Several dozen research studies from South Korea, China as well as Japan, consistently showed that simply being in the woods provided benefits of enhanced innate immunity, blood pressure reduction, improved sympathetic tone (relaxation vs. stress response), and emotional well-being. Forest Medicine has become a respected discipline in East Asia. In the U.S., “Forest Bathing” has been popularized through events led by specially trained leaders, who seem to emphasize being present in the woods with all five senses.
With Zen’s focus on intimate engagement with the world (without our thinking caps), it seems that our Sangha is especially prepared to benefit from shinrin-yoku. We hope that this spring day the woods becomes an annual event.
We will leave as a group from Great Tree at 679 Lower Flat Creek Road in Alexander at 12:00 pm and carpool in efforts to take as few vehicles as possible. Please RSVP to let us know you are coming by registering at
This is a free event and you do not need to pay to register. However, all donations are appreciated.