My name is Marjolein C. Groot. Certified forest bathing/therapy guide at the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs (ANFT), Outdoor Life Coach (Innersteps, School voor Natuurcoaching, CRKBO accredited). and hatha yoga teacher. Founder of Stillness in Nature.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts” (Rachel Carson).
My passion for nature goes back to my earliest childhood memories.
I remember the magic and appeal of the blue shimmering sea, which view suddenly became fully visible after taking a final step onto the highest dune. The salty sea air, thundering surf and white foam heads. The infinite game with the waves, the variations of light on the sand. The sun that dropped into the sea like a huge fireball against a purple sky. I didn’t want to go home anymore. I was already home.
For me, the connection with nature has proved to be the key to my energy, health, zest for life and inspiration. In this I find the true essence and access to what really matters to me. By connecting with the wonderful world of nature, slowing down, quieting and opening all my senses, I connect with myself, others and this moment in time. I achieve a profound awareness of the mysterious beauty of the universe (in Japanese: ‘Yugen’) and a feeling of being part of the bigger scheme of things.
By chance, I came across the practice of shinrin-yoku (Japanese for ‘forest bathing’). I discovered that there was a way to pass on my passion for the wonderful, healing atmosphere of nature and the peace, connection and inspiration that I find in it to others.
Living in alignment with the rhythms of nature has become an exciting and blissful way of living for me. It has so many different angles that I continue to explore.
I hope to pass on this passion and inspire and guide you on your own unique nature connection journey, too. In this respect, I offer shinrin-yoku workshops in nature, one-to-one Outdoor Life Coaching sessions, outdoor (restorative) yoga classes and yoga walks (Mind-Walk).
I also write about nature connection through storytelling and interviews, and share my nature experiences by my photography.
In 2020, I founded Stillness in Nature, with the aim of guiding and inspiring people to (re)connect with nature in their own unique way, by slowing down, finding stillness and opening their senses. I would also like to bring together a group of like-minded people to go forest bathing together. As a shinrin-yoku guide, I really enjoy guiding participants, opening ‘the doors of the forest’ for them and make them experience the connection with nature, themselves and each other.
By discovering my true passion for this nurturing work, which gives me a deep satisfaction, my life has changed forever.
I am convinced that living a life following the rhythm of nature and the practice of shinrin-yoku offer strong (health) benefits. I’ve been experiencing this myself for years. Ever since my hectic profession as immigration counsellor, Ph.D. research and work assignments with UN peacebuilding missions and (I)NGOs in various war-torn countries, such as Kosovo and South-Sudan, for me slowing down, resting in and connecting with nature with all my senses have become my true medicine (even if for this, I had to hike on forest trails where I could encounter signs warning of the presence of land mines).
Balancing my busy life in big capital cities, long stressful working hours indoors behind a computer screen, and more recently, the beautiful art of raising of two little bouncy happy boys on a third floor apartment in the sparkling city-centre of Amsterdam with daily nature breaks, gives me an inner reset. It offers me fresh energy, sparks, focus, reflection, balance, trust, creativity, a feeling of awe and wonder for the mystery and web of life on this amazing planet Earth I am so blessed to be part of, and much more.
I truly believe shinrin-yoku is a health and wellness practice everyone could highly benefit from. In the current era of climate emergency, the most important thing is that we as human beings find our way back home, to the natural environment we are all part of, so we realize its utmost importance for our well-being and survival and start to really feel the urge to protect our planet Earth, as it is a part of us and we are a part of it.
With every paid shinrin-yoku workshop we support the work of Tree Sisters.
In addition to shinrin-yoku guide, I am a writer, photographer, nature based life coach, (kid’s) yoga teacher, traveler, climber and mother. I have an academic background in Humanitarian Assistance (Ph.D.), Law (L.L.M.) and Criminology. During the week I live in colorful Amsterdam and I spend my weekends in nature on a campsite in a forest by the sea.
Marjolein is an incredible guide to the forest and its meditative secrets. I had a very rooting experience in communion with nature and felt an immense peace.
Claudia Dias, Amsterdam