An interview with two new Slovenian Asahi Nordic teachers, who plan to incorporate Asahi into their forest bathing and guided nature walks.
Asahi Goes Forest Bathing in Slovenia and in Wisconsin
Forest bathing isn’t just walking in the woods. It is tuning into all your senses so that you are aware of all that is around you. And, Asahi isn’t just physical exercise, but tuning into your senses and body sensations and staying in the present.
Asahi teachers in two different continents have recognized this compatibility between the two practices. In an upcoming blog, I will interview Sue Schaefer, an American Asahi teacher from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who has been experimenting with combining Asahi and forest bathing. In this blog I have interviewed our two newest teachers from Slovenia, Jerneja Lešnik and Jasna Markuš, about why they were drawn to Asahi.
1. How did you find out about Asahi?
Jerneja: I came across Asahi Nordic on social media. I am a teacher of Wellness and well-being and in my free time forest bathing guide and entrepreneur. I noticed that Asahi Nordic could be a great added value to my lectures and forest-bathing sessions because they link naturally. So my exploration of Asahi Nordic exercises started...
Jasna: My friend Jerneja told me about Asahi. She was excited to discover exercise that could be incorporated into our nature and forest bathing walks.
2. What was it about Asahi that caught your interest?
Jerneja: Asahi Nordic exercises introduce a very natural body-movement flow and good low-impact exercise strengthening balance, bodily mindfulness and everyday mental skills. All this I find useful to strengthen at any age. Exercises are simple to practice since one does not need extra equipment. Also, there is a profound grace in Asahi movements and a deep understanding of good posture, and I love all this.
Jasna: When I tried Asahi for the first time, I was particularly impressed by the "rocking" included in the exercises. It gives me a feeling of freedom, lightness and dancing.
3. Do you have new insights about Asahi now that you have taken the online teacher training?
Jerneja: I enjoyed the online teacher training, which was very insightful in all aspects of theory and practice. At the same time, I understand that there is still a lot that I have to learn in the realm of Asahi. So, teacher training is done, but my Asahi journey is at the beginning and the best is yet to come.
Jasna: I like it even more! I understand the concept and after two months of practice I can really feel the benefits for my mental and physical health and wellbeing.
4. What are your plans for Asahi in Slovenia/the Balkans in the near future?
Jerneja: I attended the Asahi Nordic teacher training course together with my friend and business partner Jasna, and we have made a small business plan on how to expand our activities by linking Asahi with our forest bathing and nature walks. So we truly look forward to promoting Asahi in Slovenia and even on Balkan!
Jasna: We will try to introduce Asahi to as many places, events and organizations as possible so that they can incorporate this form of exercise into their programs. These are, for example, schools for adults, wellness providers, senior centers and public health programs. Of course, we also plan to have our own groups and will include Asahi in our nature programs and forest bathing walks.
5. Any other stories, greeting or comments you wish to share with the readers?
Jerneja: Together with Jasna, we look forward to being part of the great Asahi Nordic community of enthusiasts. We are very excited about our Asahi journey here in Slovenia and will keep you posted on our activities!
Jasna: After an injury, I had an operation on my knee last year. The consequences were painful. At the age of 57, I had to give up all high-intensity exercise like Zumba and step aerobics, running and skiing. I was quite depressed. Since I started the Asahi exercise, I have noticed that my knee has gotten stronger and hurts less. Above all, I realized that we can find pleasure in movement even with low-intensity, easy and relaxing exercise. So now I enjoy Asahi every day and smile again.
Slovenia is a country rich in natural beauty. There are many hiking and biking trails through the Balkan mountains that draw adventuresome tourists from around the world. We wish Jerneja and Jasna all the best!
These two new teachers have even created an acronym for ASAHI in the Slovenian language:
Aktivirajmo Svojo Agilnost, Harmonijo in Igrivost
(Translation: Let's activate our agility, harmony and playfulness)
If you are interested in learning more about this Japanese therapy form called shinrin-yoku (forest bathing), there is a recent article in Vogue Magazine by Dana Covit you can read here.