In the latest episode of the Vital Way, Zane Christopher reflects on his ongoing experience at Roots Survival School.
- Surviving In the Wild vs Living In the Wild
- Which Essential Survival Tools You Can Learn to Build
- Building Multiple Purpose Tools
- What’s the Hardest Thing Zane Built During the Course So Far
- How Simple Tasks Help Us Appreciate the Technology We Have Today
- What Can You Expect To Do In the Hunting Class
- the Benefits of Walking Through the Woods Blindfolded
- Expectations vs Reality
- The Benefits of Forest Bathing / Shinrin-yoku
For more about Roots Survival School click here.
Click the link below to access the complete transcript.[spoiler]
Cloud: Hello and welcome to another Vital Way podcast. I’m your host, Cloud Christopher. As usual Zane is travelling, he’s not actually driving this time but may be in the future. So I’ve titled this podcast Zane’s Adventures because Zane is going to talk a little bit about the things he’s been doing out in Maine and his survival skill and some cool stuff he’s been doing out there. So why don’t you just go ahead and tell us a little about the school to start.
Zane: I’m currently attending ROOTS School in Vermont. Corinth, Vermont to be exact. It’s pretty much central Vermont but back wood like so back woods. It’s a really beautiful place and I’m attending a program there that covers I believe nine months. You go once a month and take a class and the classes vary from building primitive tools like stone axes, celt, building bows, learning how to hunt animals, wild foraging, all that stuff. So basically the program I’m doing is called the Foraging Program. It’s not about survival. They actually have an eight-month or nine-month program that is geared entirely towards learning how to survive if you’re in a shitty situation in the woods or wherever you’re at. That one’s a little bit more intense. The one I’m doing is more about learning how to actually live off of the land in a sustainable way. I don’t know that many schools. Most schools I know are all about survival skills and while those are awesome to know, I think it’s really important to know how to actually live off the land because those skills don’t apply for many months necessarily.
Cloud: When did you leave again? Or when did their classes start?
Zane: Okay, the first class was at the beginning, first week in February, which is awesome because it was also right when winter really hit the northeast. So I got to experience my first winter and what a lot of the people around there thought was not a fun winter at all.
Cloud: Nice. For most of you out there that don’t know, we grew up in Santa Cruz, California. Zane, you’ve never really left California so that was your first winter, huh?
Zane: That was my first winter and all the people I would tell that to would be like, well, you picked hell out of winter to come live here. It was nice. I knew it was going to be so harsh but yeah, it was really eye-opening, I’m really glad I did. I recommend everyone to try that.
Cloud: Winters are awesome. I’m not a winter person. Anyway, so you started in February. It is now almost the end of June. Like you said, you’re coming back to California and then you’re going to go back out there to finish the last few classes in the fall, correct?
Zane: Yeah, I’m going to have to skip one. Some stuff came up so I’m going home and spending more time at home to handle something but I still intend to finish the class. So the class ends with a, I believe, ten-day primitive survival trip where we’re only allowed to use the primitive tools we have created.
Cloud: Yeah. Zane sent me the itinerary. I thought this was really cool. Just like in a lot of schools, they build upon what they teach you each week. At this school and Zane and I booked a military at the end, they have a large excursion where you are supposed to utilize everything you’ve learned but I really like the idea of this primitive one where you can only use stuff you built with your hands to make it for ten days. I thought that was really cool. That’ll be awesome to hear about it and you finish it.
Zane: It should be fun. They already have a couple of big shelters because they always do a project with the students from the old trip and the last class, my class is composed of only five people. The last class was like 14 people, I think. They built a huge shelter because they had to and I’ve already slept in it. It’s awesome. It’s going to be awesome.
Cloud: So, why don’t you tell us about some of the things that you’ve built so far?
Zane: Okay, the second class was a long one. It was eight days and that’s because it was in the middle of winter. We spent all our time in the workshop and they gave us the chance to build a bow, a traditional bow. We built it out of one piece of wood so that’s a self-bow. It just means you built it out of one piece of wood instead of gluing two pieces together, which is also something you can do. That was a four-day workshop where there was a little saw action just to speed things up but otherwise, you learn every single skill, everything you need to build a bow.
Not coming from a woodworking background like a lot of the other students were because they are native Vermonters with a little more experienced with working with their hands than I was, it took me a little longer than the others to build a bow. My teacher was also telling me that I was building one of the harder ones because you actually have to go slow with the grain of the wood. You can end up with a bow that is twisty, curvy and that works perfectly fine. It’s really beautiful to look at. That was rough. That was a hard class. We were working like 12 hours a day on this bow, just rasping and all this stuff.
After that, everyone’s guaranteed a bow. Even if you break it, they never really threw the thing. They catch you up with another bow still and you keep working on one. So everyone ends up with a really nice bow that’s worth a lot of money. The class is only $250 bucks. If anyone’s in the area, I highly recommend that you look into creating your first bow. It’s actually starting to blow up in these schools all over. They operate here a lot
Cloud: Doesn’t ROOTS also offer just that class?
Zane: Well yeah.
Cloud: Or is it separate from your program?
Zane: There was 16 people in that class and like I’ve said before, I only have 5 people in my program so a lot of the classes that I do actually match up when other people come. But it’s kind of like a group package that you pay for really cheap. So after the bow class, we went right into flint knapping, which is banging rocks together to make sharp points, arrowheads and whatever. But you can really make so many different tools with rocks. That’s what our ancestors used to use for hundreds of thousands of years, was just rocks. It’s pretty primal when you start doing that stuff. That was really fun. It takes a lot of practice. I’m not going to admit to being remotely anywhere good because that takes a lot of patience to get good at that.
Cloud: And have the knowledge, right?
Zane: Not even that. More like a lifetime. They have flint knap blades and arrowheads that can’t actually be replicated by anyone alive because they don’t know how they did it because with skills they used to do it are so gnarly. So it kind of demolishes the idea that our ancient ancestors were actually just banging rocks together and weren’t that smart.
Zane: Yeah, they’re not primitive. The stuff they did is like brain surgery level. If you get into the stuff, you start to see that. The technique, all the little things they do are crazy intricate. So it sort of adds a lot of time for that, too. Right after that, we went into arrow making and this was all three-day stand so for two days we spent making, learning how to make arrows, which is actually not that hard and super awesome, out of hide, glue and deer tendon and yeah, stuff like that. Then a bone arrowhead, really interesting.
After that class, one of the big things sort of for long-term living that people don’t really think about is having stuff like storage, containers. Something you don’t really need to worry that much about when you’re in a survival situation is a storage container but if you’re living in the wild, you need places to store your food. You will be making baskets and other longer proof containers and stuff like that. So the whole next class, a lot of it was just on storage materials and transportation. There was like a buckskin ruck sack we made that was super easy to do and looks amazing. Then after that, we went on to make a stone axe, which is a bitch. We spent four days grinding a stone and hitting a stone with another stone and that sucked a lot. Normally, you would be doing this over like a six-month period.
Cloud: But you needed an axe now?
Zane: Yeah, we had to do it that fast. So my next axe will definitely not be that gnarly. I won’t hate it with a passion. Oh my gosh.
Cloud: Is it usable?
Zane: Yeah, of course it’s usable. It’s just that whole process. There are certain things you’re going to take away from this that you’re going to continue and keep working on and refining and stuff and then there are other things that you’re going to be like well, I’m not really into that so I probably won’t make another one of those. But you do get a sampling, which is one of the big draws for me. It was just getting, like seeing how to do these skills and doing them at least one time.
Cloud: But every time you grab this axe, it makes you?
Zane: I feel like a badass. It’s very cool. This stuff you’re building by hand so once you’ve brought all of it—yeah, go ahead.
Cloud: I was going to ask you about of actually building this stuff with hands, tools you can use for functions. I know I watched a clip of a video you sent me about the axes and the stuff they were doing with the axes. It’d be totally functional. So I wanted to ask about building with your hands, about what you thought because in our society everything’s made for us pretty much. Like you said, we didn’t really grow up out where we’re working with our hands that much.
Zane: Yeah, I don’t think a lot of city people will kind of understand that. I think that’s kind of why some of these movement towards older skills are starting up. It’s because people want to be doing something with their hands. So just working with your hands and putting all that time into that object, that object becomes so precious to you because you spent all that time doing that. For many of the natives, their bows, no one else could touch a person’s bow. If somebody did, that would be really shameful for that person because these things are so sacred because it takes so long to do it sometimes and some of the work would be so intricate.
So just working with your hands and seeing how hard it is to do, it’s just the time you put in, you really get that back. You use the object and you cherish it because of that. It’s not like I’m throwing away a piece of Chinese made tool or something like that. You’ll take care of that for as long as possible and pass it to your grandson or something.
Cloud: And the cool thing with what you’re building, it’s all nature made.
Zane: Yeah, I was going to touch on that.
Cloud: Animal parts and rocks.
Zane: It’s so nice to work with natural material. Everyone in the classes would constantly bring it up every time we did it, like I can’t believe we’re working with bone and sand. It feels really good. I think I know why. It just comes out of that work. It’s just like hard work feels really good and it’s natural materials.
Cloud: Do you think it’s anything like going barefoot into the forest? It helps you connect?
Zane: Yeah, I think so. There just has to be something about using natural materials. I think it’s like ancestral heritage in your DNA or something. You just feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing. I remember doing this from before. This is how things were for hundreds of…
Cloud: It felt right?
Cloud: You could say?
Zane: It felt exactly right. It does not feel like working on a laptop.
Cloud: Sure. But you’re still sitting, huh? Was there anything after the stone axe that you built?
Zane: Let’s see. We made a celt, which is basically a stone that you turn into a really decent sharp object that you fit, you kind of hollow out the handle and you fit it in there and it gets knocked back in and it doesn’t move at all. But the cool thing about that is you can also take the celt out and use it as a hand axe at the same time. So it’s kind of like a Swiss army knife in the fact that you can pull it out of that and it’s a little versatile that way. But they’re really good. So the thing with that is obviously you wouldn’t be using that on a dead tree or anything because the wood’s too hard for it, even that stone, and we’re using really hard basalt stone, some of the heaviest stones. So you actually have to do all your cutting on green wood and then you got to let that stuff dry. But if you’re just constructing shelters and stuff, you would cut it down and tie it up. We’ve never really think about that. Yeah, you don’t want to chip your celt because once you do that, that could be a problem. It could dry up really fast after that.
Cloud: So out of the things you’ve built so far, what is your favorite one?
Zane: Well, not that celt. I would say the bow just because we also started shooting after the bow-making class. We started archery. I had never shot a bow before this. Well okay, I had shot a bow but I never really practiced it. That was probably the most amazing thing. It was building your own bow and then shooting it after that and seeing it at work and you hitting targets with it. It still blows my mind that I did that.
Cloud: With the arrows you made?
Zane: Ah no, I haven’t done that. So the arrows, the primitive arrows we made, they are very delicate and if you are not good at hitting your target, they’re not good to use for target practice because if you suck at shooting and the thing hits the ground, there’s a really good chance you’re going to screw it up. I mean I was shooting up metal arrows.
Cloud: So they either kill or they destroy themselves.
Zane: Yeah, pretty much. Basically, my teacher at the school, Brad Long, he only really has done when one he goes hunting, when he’s doing a primitive hunt, that’s when he uses his stone axe.
Cloud: So which one do you think was the hardest?
Zane: Definitely the stone axe. Oh my gosh, I actually would like to make another one pretty soon but take my time with it and not hate myself. Another thing I learned from my teacher that was awesome is a lot of these skills are sitting there and working on them for a while. This is where kind of the modern and the old combine really well is listening to audio books while you’re working on these skills. That’s a really good idea. That’s what he does. Me and a couple of other guys have gotten to listening to audio books and it works out really well because you’re learning or entertained at least while you’re also practicing your skills.
Cloud: Great. It’s that part of our constant need to multitask.
Zane: Maybe. It can get a little boring when you’re doing the same thing over and over again. But same as in my book, people, you guys just joke around and stuff, it’s a good time doing those with friends.
Cloud: So which one of these things taught you the most?
Zane: Well, I haven’t even talked about the last class I did. That was hunting, gathering, tracking and awareness. That was the better class. Before I get to that though just finished, since we were talking about the tools I did want to say that doing the bow I really began to appreciate just hard work with your hands. I’m still not used to it.
We got into weaving, too, and weaving by hand isn’t easy for most guys. So the thing that the weaving taught me was that technology is so much easier to appreciate when you have started from the bottom of our tool usage. Weaving by hand is cool. It just takes forever. This is where you’re beginning to be like oh, the loom sets that stuff up so fast and it would make it so easy because you can double weave at the same time. You don’t have to just weave one side one way and then weave the other side the other side. You can do both at the same time and it just speeds things up and you begin to appreciate that. So many of these skills just bleed into the appreciation of technology.
Cloud: Right. I was just going to say that this primitive school has made you appreciate modern stuff more, it sounds like.
Zane: Well yeah. Even the laptop, a lot of people forget is that the laptop comes from stone tools. It’s origin. It came out of that. It had its start with stone tools and wood and all that stuff and without any of that stuff we wouldn’t have the laptop. I think a lot of people that kind of just think they just magically appear in the stores.
Cloud: Yeah. Well, when you grow up with them your whole life, maybe you do think that.
Zane: There’s just so much knowledge that came out of in so many years, it’s weird to think about.
Cloud: It’s good to think about because that makes you appreciate it.
Zane: Yeah. This hunting and gathering class was really cool. I kind of got into this stuff because health-wise, it taught me everything to collecting wild food is one thing but like going out and actually collecting wild meat is totally, totally different and that has always been an eventual goal for me. So it’s really cool now that after last weekend, I got to experience it to a degree. Now I can start practicing and really get to the point where I can do that for myself, which is amazing. I know a lot of guys would be down to just being able to hunt their own meat and I’m not talking about with a rifle or anything like that. I’m talking bow and arrow or a spear.
Cloud: Or a knife, right?
Zane: Right, that also may go. Fight off a bear with a knife. Earn your manhood.
Cloud: So, was there anything else? Any other classes or that was it?
Zane: That’s it so far. A couple of things we did in the hunting class, we stalked. We practiced stalking, which I have never done. It’s really cool because it really gets you going into probably areas of nature you wouldn’t normally tread, like super tight areas or even impassable areas where you have to use animal tunnels. When you’re stalking stuff, it doesn’t matter. You would go through anything and that’s really cool. It also slows you down so much that you see so much stuff like animals, birds, everything. Modern humans just tramp through the woods and there’s this whole zone of disturbance that we put out there. We could make it smaller but most moderns are not aware of it. It alerts the birds. While you’re walking down, it’ll alert the birds and the birds just pass that down the forest. So one of the reasons you hardly see any animals when you’re walking through the woods or hiking is because the birds are telling everything that something is coming, besides the fact that you’re probably talking really loud and just like on your cellphones and stuff.
Cloud: I remember when I was in school, there was that book, Learn the Languages of the Birds and you will know what’s going on in the forest.
Zane: Is it? There’s a really good one out there called What the Robin Knows. I haven’t read it yet but so many people have been like that’s the one. I don’t know. I’ve just started listening to bird calls, just listening to them and trying to get an awareness of what’s going on but they definitely do freak out when you are walking towards them. You can totally distinguish different styles of calls and once you can learn those different styles, you can start to read the forest because not only you do it. Predators do it and they will alert the forest to predators moving on there. So if you can hear that, you need know where something is to hunt perhaps if you’re going to hunt the predator. That’s kind of cool.
Cloud: Yeah, you always want to read. I think we had not the author but a friend of the author and she taught us about that kind of stuff.
Zane: Oh really? That’s cool.
Cloud: Yeah, that was way back when I told you about that book.
Zane: Yeah, that’s one aspect that’s really cool, just moving silently through the woods. A lot of people are probably not into getting on the game of hunting but just learning how to move silently through the woods and also being more aware of your surroundings by constantly looking behind you, in the trees and stuff like that, you’ll really see so much more wildlife because you’re kind of acting like an animal with that instead of acting like some animal that they don’t recognize because we act so strange to them. Modern.
Cloud: Yeah, like the feet are
Zane: They like, my friend.
Cloud: Yeah, I’m excited. When you get back hopefully, we can go out and do some more. Because you and I used to do, I mean maybe not correctly but we used to kind of do some of this stuff just on our own.
Zane: Yeah. It’s so fun, too, plus here’s an awesome thing. If you’re stalking through the woods for a couple of hours, you are sweating so much and your core is super tight. You can get in really good shape because you’re moving so slow and slow movements really work the muscles. So yeah, I plan on doing at least every week, trying to do a two-week stalk or something. I would like to do more but we’ll just see how it sets with going outside and start it. The cool thing is you can do it anywhere so I also plan on stalking my friends. If you can stalk up on animals like your pets and stuff, it just means you’re getting really good at it.
Cloud: Practice on your pets.
Zane: Or your kids.
Cloud: Yeah, I’m hoping maybe we can teach your niece, my daughter, to calm down and not be so loud.
Zane: Oh man, yeah. That’s also true. All these skills, kids are so into this stuff so if you’re just like hey, be quiet, we’re going to try and sneak up on this person or something, your kids are so into it. Instantly, they’re like okay. It’s going to be fun. One other thing, I’d always wanted to do this. It’s an awareness practice and we actually got to do it that weekend. This practice is basically walking blindfolded through the woods, which a lot of people might be a little nervous about. I was a little nervous about it myself. You could technically hurt yourself.
The practice is you’re basically cutting off your sight so you have to rely on your other senses to stand. You just have to barge it. There’s a drum that’s set up somewhere and they’re hitting it and all the people that are doing the activity are set up in a circle around it a ways off, a pretty good ways off actually. They basically have to try to traverse the terrain to get to the drum. I’ve never done anything like that and I had parts where I was a little freaky like when I had to cross a stream. I knew that there were definitely some ledges around the stream that I could have easily fallen off of or I could have stepped into a really deep pool. The guy that walked me out told me he did his first time, the only time he fell was when he walked into a stream. But the whole awareness is just to get you to slow down and like open your senses. It’s kind of like a rite of passage. It feels like one because after that you’re like okay.
Then another cool thing about it is that you can’t see where you’re going so you barge through some gnarly stuff. My teacher was saying if we tracked your trail through the woods, you would be amazed at the stuff you barged in. That kind of gives you a sense that you can go anywhere, really, in nature like there are no limits. Just because it’s really thick right there, you can get through it just like an animal. There were a couple of other things. If you’re scared of the dark, it really helps with that. I’m not saying I was but a lot of people feel a lot better about darkness, especially being locked in the woods that night because if you can barge through it blindfolded, you would know later that if you actually get lost in the forest at night and can’t see anything, you’re fine. There’s really nothing to worry about. And animals will get out of your way, too. That would surprise you.
Cloud: Because you’re being too loud when you’re barging.
Zane: Yeah, that was probably one of the more exciting thing that we did. I’m so glad that we did that because I really think everyone should do that to get a little better appreciation and that opening of your awareness.
Cloud: So let’s go back to January before you left for adventure and kind of tell me about what you expected, what your expectations were at that time for the school.
Zane: Well, I did have some grandiose thoughts, of course. I tried to be realistic. I knew I wasn’t going to come out of it like some kind of crazy Rambo that can live off the land and some crazy Indian brave or something that can like just sneak up on anyone ninja-like and whatever. I knew that but I did think that I’d be a little more confident in these skills and it would be possible for me to just go out, maybe go hiking on trails and not bring that much stuff and be comfortable. I can do that but it would be a sucker fest even now. It’d be a lot better but it’d still be a sucker fest.
Cloud: So yeah, in the middle of it now, where do you—
Zane: The biggest things like, and I’ve had a lot of friends be like oh, so are you going to live in the wild after this once I’m done with the program stuff? No, I’m not going to live in the wild. These skills take a long time to learn. What people don’t really think about is that natives will be learning these skills since the time they’re born. Even my teacher admits that maybe his best skills are at the level of a 13- or 14- year old in a traditional society. He’s been doing these skills since he was a teenager and he’s like in his upper thirties now. We missed out when we are kids so it’s going to be a little harder.
The upside to that is that because I’m learning these skills now even this late in my life and yeah, I might never be super good at any of them, hopefully I’ll be good at one of them at least, we can teach them to our children so they will have a slightly earlier start at that so they will be way better than us when they reach our level. Then they can teach their children and that’s kind of the thing, regaining our independence in so many words, not having to rely on our system, even if you do rely or are using the system, not having to rely on the system in case something happens. You have a way out. You have a like a safety net, really. I learned that yeah, I’m not a badass. I pretty much am not a badass.
Cloud: Yeah. You kind of talked about it but like plans for the future, like you said, continuing practicing all this stuff. Are you going to build new things on your own, take more classes? Where are you going to go with all this stuff?
Zane: So I’m going to pick a few of them and try and really target. I can’t do it all at once because there’s just so many different things so I want to focus on a couple of skills and try and get those before going back and trying other skills. I would really like to make another bow. I was planning to maybe make my next bow for your daughter, which would be a little easier because it’s a kid’s bow, but I’m kind of scaling it. It’d be easier to make because it’s a kid’s bow. The main thing I want is, like I said before, is to get into actual hunting. That way, I can be eating real healthy wild foods and providing that to friends and family also. I would say that’s almost one of the ultimate levels of health that you can achieve, just getting those wild foods and then providing that for others just because eating venison that you catch is going to be so much healthier than any bird, even grass-fed birds. It’s going to be so much healthier than that stuff. It’s just like the ultimate level I see for a healthy living style.
Cloud: Yeah. I’m just curious. During these long days of building, did the herbs help you out mentally or energy? What were you taking out at the school?
Zane: Well, now I’m on a lot of stuff but before, I was taking a lot of shilajit just because I knew it would help me get through those long days. I was drinking a lot of coffee. I don’t drink coffee now. I’m trying to get off that stuff but yeah, everyone was drinking a lot of coffee because they are long days and you are working it. So even if you’re sitting down, you’re working the whole time. You’re like working muscles. So pine pollen, shilajit. I was taking Spartan for a while because I knew my stress levels were higher, kind of frustrating—
Cloud: And then now, like you said, you’re on some newer stuff. We’re all testing new herbs, new products. Zane is lucky enough to test the adrenal formula.
Zane: Oh yeah, that one was one I’m pretty sure that’s helping me a lot. It tastes awesome as they always do. Well, that means it’s working.
Cloud: I remember that. I have that. It worked great but it’s a spicy one. I’m all into sea buckthorn now.
Zane: I’m taking that. I’m not like mega-dosing like you are because that’s gnarled.
Cloud: Dude, you’ve got to try three tablespoons a day of sea buckthorn and see what happens. It’s amazing. Like I told you, I did not need coffee that day I did five.
Zane: Sea buckthorn is really important so for those of you that doesn’t know, we’re talking about sea buckthorn berry. It’s super nutritious. We really want to carry it. Super sour. It’d be an interesting flavor addition. It just tones down some of the gnarlier, bitter taste.
Cloud: I love sour so I love the taste of this. It’s kind of like the sour candy. It honestly kind of hurts your jaw sometimes. It’s so sour. My wife, I think, this morning or yesterday, she took a spoonful and her whole face kind of felt it, she said. But sea buckthorn is a nutrient bomb, just like pine pollen with omega-3, 6, 7 and 9 and it helps a lot with recovery.
Zane: Yeah, the big one. I can’t wait to experiment with more of it.
Cloud: Yeah. We’re looking into powder and oil and hopefully we can have that soon for everybody because this is awesome.
Zane: And just in the oil, I’m so excited for some of the new stuff we’re looking at. We leave it up to you, guys.
Cloud: Well, I just want to ask, do you feel going to the school has just basically like maybe strengthened your connection to nature when you’re out in it?
Zane: Yes, pretty sure. I would say it was mostly just that last class. All the building stuff, a lot of the times we had to spend, half of the classes we had to spend indoors just because it was so cold. It was really cold. One of the nights, I was sleeping in the year, it got down to negative 20 something. I was like sleeping on the floor of the. That was the coldest I’ve ever been.
Cloud: Sorry, I got stationed in Alaska for three years so.
Zane: Yeah, and how cold did you get down there?
Cloud: My coldest was negative 55.
Zane: That’s crazy.
Cloud: But I was wrapped up in enough gear, I didn’t even know it was that cold. But I wasn’t working either. I wasn’t expending any energy and I wasn’t cold so I know that gear worked really well.
Zane: I wish I had that. What was the question?
Cloud: Strengthening your connection in nature.
Zane: Okay, right, and not strengthening my memory.
Cloud: Take some more lion’s mane.
Zane: Yeah, it definitely did. Seriously, now I just want to go out then hang out in nature like all the time because there’s so much to see there, it’s mind blowing. I can’t wait to get going on this stuff. And there’s a lot of businesses—I forgot I wanted to talk about, if you guys have heard of it, Logan and I believe put out a little thing on called shinrin-yoku. That’s my attempt at really terrible Japanese. Shinrin-yoku basically translates to forest bathing. They’ve done a lot of studies in Japan and South Korea and they’re finding out just how healthy it is to just walk in a forest. A lot of it is applicable to anywhere where it’s really wild but they specifically were studying forests for a lot of the studies and just all the health benefits that come out of that. It kind of seems like that should be common knowledge. Obviously, you hang out in nature and that’s good for you but it’s just the actual study, of them finding out just how it benefits you by boosting your immune system, helping you de-stress immensely. You get faster recovery times from injuries and illnesses by doing this.
It’s interesting. I know a lot of it has to do with just your system just getting hit with so many different microbes and stuff like that so your immune system’s actually going to ramp up for that stuff. So it’s a little bit, you could say it’s like training your immune system. By actually stressing it out, it’s going to get stronger just like your muscles. Yeah, I got to do a lot of that. It also slightly can start to alter your, I guess, brain, maybe the chemicals the brain’s putting out but it can alter your awareness of stuff. You know this stuff. Meditation gets way better when you spend a lot of time in nature so there’s like a deep connection that that it could really improve. I would say it’s definitely just building your shen or your soul when you’re walking out in nature, especially on a regular basis.
Cloud: Well, maybe the reason for that is because that’s what we’re supposed to be doing.
Zane: I know, right? That’s where everyone should live. What? That’s crazy.
Cloud: All right. Well, I think that about wraps it up for this episode. Are there any last statements you would like to make?
Zane: I would just recommend that you really try and get outside even, get out to a park or something and try and get into the places where there are a little bit more wild because even, and I’ve been doing this, even in like these little corners of cities and stuff, there’ll be these wild places that no one goes to. You can just get in there and there’s a lot of life in there happening. Transition zone, there’s always a lot of life and activity so just try and get into those spots even if you’re in the middle of city.
Cloud: Or just go sit in a tree. Enjoy yourself.
Zane: Sit spot, exactly.
Cloud: Go to a sit spot for just 27 minutes. Like I said, this has been Cloud and Zane Christopher for the Vital Way podcast and we’ll see you next time.
Zane: Yeah, put down any questions that you have. I didn’t get to cover everything because my thoughts were a little muddled and I’m a little tired. But if you have any questions, you want to know about my experience or any of this stuff, I would be happy to answer them. So if you want to put some comments down, that’d be really cool. I know a lot of people are interested in this stuff.
Cloud: And maybe Zane will throw some pictures up of some of the stuff he made.
Zane: Oh yeah, I meant to do that.