ShiZen Yoku

ShiZen Yoku

ShiZen Yoku is the personal practice of being aware and respectfully present with the natural world.

Here are some ideas and suggestions to start you on your Shizen Yoku journey:

First, do no harm.
You are re-building a relationship.

  • Before you go out into the natural world, do your best to be in a peaceful and loving state.
    Let go of any unbalanced or unhelpful thoughts and emotions you may have been carrying.
  • Next, choose a nearby place where the natural world has some respect. It may be a park or greenspace or even your own backyard. Perhaps there is a special tree or stream or rock formation that is calling you. Choose a destination that is easily accessible for you, a place in which you can feel physically comfortable and safe. It’s also a good idea to let someone know where you are going.
  • Bring water. You may also want to bring a notebook and a plastic bag with you.
    (The plastic bag can provide a dry place to sit on damp ground. It can also be used AFTER your
    Shizen Yoku practice to pick up litter other humans may have left behind.)
  • Free yourself from electronic distractions. Turn off your phone. Not vibrate, OFF.
    Your ShiZen Yoku time is not a photo-hunting trip. If you must bring a camera, turn it off.
    Electronics emit signals that can be disturbing to other creatures. Whether we can hear them or not, our devices still make “noise.”
  • HUSH. Shush. Keep silent.
  • Practice walking softly, gently, quietly. Your ShiZen Yoku time is not meant to be a physical workout.
    Become aware that you are walking in, on, around and through the homes of many other life forms.
    Do your best not to stomp on or stab the Earth.
  • Show respect.
  • Find a place where you can just BE.
  • Sit. Relax. Observe. Feel.
  • Still yourself.
  • Put your hands on your heart, and bring your awareness to the deeper, more peaceful aspects of your Self.
  • Breathe.
  • Use your senses. Let your eyes, ears, nose, skin, heart and soul open to the experience.


  • Breathe even more deeply and slowly. 
  • Bask in the rhythms of the natural world. 
  • Simply practice Being fully present in and with Nature. 
  • Feel. Love. 
  • Stay still.

  • After a while, when you are ready to leave, quietly give thanks.
  • Leave no trace of your passing.
  • Before you return to your “usual” life, you may want to make a sketch and / or write a few notes to yourself.


  • Create a regular practice of silently, respectfully BEing in Nature.
    Consistency is very helpful in establishing your ShiZen Yoku practice.
    It is more helpful to spend 10 minutes TODAY sitting beneath a nearby tree in a city than to postpone your ShiZen Yoku time for some imagined future trip to a National Park or Wilderness Preserve.
  • Daily practice is very helpful. (ShiZen Yoku practitioners report many physical and mental benefits).
    If the weather or some physical limitation makes it seem too difficult to practice outdoors on a given day, then just sit in your current home holding a stone or shell or feather or some other beautiful object not created by humans. People have reported wonderful results just sitting with a houseplant.

Where you practice is not nearly as important as that you practice. Daily practice yields amazing results.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” ~ Gandhi

A few of the many benefits of a regular ShiZen Yoku practice:

Reduced stress twisty trees 72

Increased empathy


Increased whole brain activity

Increased sensory awareness

Increased sense of personal peace

Lower blood pressure

Overall health improved

Increased sense of well-being

Improved confidence

Reduction in mental chatter

Increased creativity

Improved mental acuity

Improved physical immunity

Improved emotional stability

Increased sense of belonging on Earth

"These new people seem damaged. They look to their maps for a path when the deer have already marked the way. They make so much noise, and disturb the Creator’s other children. They take without giving. They do not listen. They do not make time with the elders or listen to the wisdom told by trees and stones and sung by the waters. How can people learn anything if they keep their hearts bound so tight; if they will not see or listen? How can the Great Spirit help people who dishonor good gifts?" 
~ Shining Bear, observing the European settlers in North America

Our forthcoming ShiZen Yoku handbook will provide you with more in-depth information.