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Shinrin Yoku Association is dedicated to cultivating and endorsing Shinrin Yoku instruction that upholds exceptional quality, prioritizes safety, embraces accessibility, and advocates for fairness and inclusivity.

Board of Directors

The Shinrin Yoku Association Board of Directors comprises individuals with diverse backgrounds and expertise, united by their shared commitment to advancing the practice of Shinrin Yoku and its transformative impact on individuals and the environment. Together, they guide the association’s strategic initiatives, support the professional development of Shinrin Yoku Guides and Instructors, and work towards the integration of Shinrin Yoku in various sectors to promote well-being and nature conservation.

Meet The Shinrin Yoku Association Board of Directors:

Milena A. Guziak (MChem, PhDEng, MScPsy; Founder of Shinrin Yoku Association; Founder of The Mindful Tourist: 森の心・人の心 - SYA & ISO Accredited Shinrin Yoku/Forest Bathing Guide & Instructor Training Programs)

As the Founder of SYA, President of the Board, Milena brings a wealth of experience in the field of Shinrin Yoku and a deep passion for promoting nature-based practices. She has trained multiple of Shinrin Yoku Guides and instructors. With a background in various fields, Milena has played a pivotal role in shaping the vision and strategic direction of the association. With a background in education, research, curriculum development and Japanese language, Milena contributes her expertise to shaping the association's training programs and educational resources. She lived in Japan for 10 years and worked as a lecturer at various universities. She completed her MScPsy under superivison of prof. Sheffield. Her dedication to inclusivity and accessibility ensures that the benefits of Shinrin Yoku are accessible to diverse communities. Together with Penelope Norton, she is a Chief Editor of Shinrin Yoku Journal. She believes wholeheartedly in the healing power of forest and nature as a whole, but also in self-healing potential of humans - 森が人を癒している

David Sheffield (Health Psychologist, Professor at Derby University)

David is a dedicated researcher whose work focuses on comprehending the effects of stress on health, well-being, and performance. He employs various research methodologies, including epidemiological studies, experiments, psychophysiological assessments, and interviews. He is part Nature Connectedness research group at Derby University. His diverse research interests encompass several areas, such as Nature Connectedness, exploring the relationship between individuals and the natural environment; Music and well-being, investigating the impact of music on personal well-being; Compassion and mindfulness-based approaches to living, exploring practices that promote compassion and mindfulness in daily life. Through his research, David contributes to our understanding of stress and its implications for various aspects of human life, ultimately aiming to enhance health and well-being.

Gunvor Marie Dyrdal (PhD Clinical Psychologist, Business Owner, SYA accredited Shinrin Yoku/Forest Bathing Guide)

Gunvor brings expertise in mindfulness, positive psychology and wellness practices, with a focus on incorporating Shinrin Yoku into holistic approaches to well-being. Their dedication to research and education ensures that the association stays at the forefront of evidence-based practices. With her extensive knowledge in these fields, Gunvor enhances the association's understanding of the psychological and well-being aspects related to Shinrin Yoku. Her research and expertise in mindfulness and positive psychology provide valuable insights into the potential benefits of Shinrin Yoku for mental health, stress reduction, and overall well-being. Gunvor contributes to the association's mission of promoting a holistic approach to nature connection and cultivating a deeper sense of well-being through the practice of Shinrin Yoku.

Helga Synnevåg Løvoll (PhDPsy, Professor at Volda University College, SYA accredited Shinrin Yoku/Forest Bathing Guide)

Helga, brings a unique perspective and expertise to the board. Inspired by theories of quality of life and eudaimonic well-being, Helga is deeply concerned with the transformative power of nature experiences. She explores motivations for outdoor activities and identifies elements that strengthen connections with nature. Through emotion theory, Helga investigates different experiential dimensions, including emotional, aesthetic, and spiritual aspects. She emphasizes the distinction between "doing" and "being" and seeks to promote sustainability by recognizing the value of outdoor experiences across diverse settings. Helga's contributions enrich the association's mission of fostering a deeper connection with nature and promoting a nature-friendly and inclusive way of life.

Penelope Norton (Clinical and Child Psychology, Chief Editor of Shinrin Yoku Journal, SYA accredited Shinrin Yoku/Forest Bathing Guide)

Penelope, brings her expertise in Clinical and Child Psychology to the board. As the Chief Editor of the Shinrin Yoku Journal, Penelope plays a vital role in advancing the field of Shinrin Yoku through scholarly publications and research. With a deep understanding of human psychology, particularly in the context of children and clinical settings, Penelope's contributions ensure the integration of evidence-based practices and therapeutic approaches in Shinrin Yoku. Her dedication to promoting the well-being of individuals, especially through the lens of psychological development, enhances the association's mission of fostering a deeper connection with nature for individuals of all ages. Through her leadership and expertise, Penelope elevates the discourse surrounding Shinrin Yoku, driving the exploration of its psychological benefits and its application in various therapeutic settings.

Benten Martens (SYA accredited Shinrin Yoku/Forest Bathing Guide & Instructor)

Benten is a Forest Mind Instructor (2021), TMT Shinrin Yoku Guide (2023) and SYA Instructor, based in South-East Flanders and Picardy Wallonia, Belgium, Europe. With a diverse background in animation film, herbalism, and pharmacy, Benten brings a unique blend of skills and knowledge to their practice. They specialize in providing forest bathing and creative workshops in nature, catering to individuals dealing with stress, particularly high-sensitive and gifted people. Benten is fluent in Dutch, French, and English, ensuring effective communication and a welcoming experience for participants.

Józef Radwan (MSc in Forestry, SYA accredited Shinrin Yoku/Forest Bathing Guide)

Józef was born and raised in the countryside, and as an adult, transitioned the family farmland into a forest. He is deeply connected to nature, which inspired him to earn a master's degree in forestry at the University of Agriculture in Krakow. His experience and learning from Dr. Kazimierz Majerczyk have influenced their approach to forest cultivation, placing emphasis on beauty alongside productivity. Currently working as a forester in the Andrychów Forestry Department, he is the first Polish forester to gain qualifications as a certified Shinrin Yoku guide, integrating this practice into their work to promote the forest's social function. His lifelong commitment to nature is also reflected in their personal change of perspective regarding fishing and the treatment of animals, marking their deep respect and admiration for all life forms.

Charo D'Etcheverry (Professor of Classical Japanese Literature, University of Wisconsin–Madison, SYA accredited Shinrin Yoku/Forest Bathing Guide)

With her deep knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture and literature, Charo contributes valuable insights to the association's mission and objectives. Her credentials in classical Japanese literature provide a rich foundation for exploring the historical and antecedents of Shinrin Yoku. Through her contributions to the board, Charo helps shape the association's initiatives and ensures that the practice of Shinrin Yoku reflects an understanding of its traditional and cultural influences.ural heritage that underpins Shinrin Yoku.

Soumia Masmoudi (Founder of Elle Architecture studio, Permaculture Designer & Expert at Caravane Earth Fondation, SYA accredited Shinrin Yoku/Forest Bathing Guide)

As an urban architect and founder of Ellearchitecture Studio, Soumia is renowned for her innovative eco-projects that blend community, ecology, and food security. Her international portfolio includes acclaimed projects like Vietnam's Hippo Farm, Qatar's Heenat Salma Farm, and Algeria's Riviera project. Her work focuses on creating spaces that foster a strong connection between humans and nature, aligning perfectly with the mission of SYA to promote Shinrin Yoku and its benefits. Soumia brings to the SYA board her extensive experience, unique perspectives, and passion for eco-conscious and community-engaging design. As a part of the SYA, she supports the association's mission of promoting Shinrin Yoku and its benefits while emphasizing the intrinsic value and need for a symbiotic relationship with nature.

Izabela Zgorzelska (MPsy, President of the Board of the "LAS TO ZDROWIE" (The Forest is Health) Association, SYA accredited Shinrin Yoku/Forest Bathing Guide)

With a background in psycho-oncology from SWPS University in Warsaw and transport psychology from the University of Warsaw, she has built a diverse and extensive career as a psychologist over 15 years. She has honed her skills and experience working in social welfare centers serving adults, disabled people, and individuals with mental illnesses. Her work in recent years has been at the Masovian Regional Center for Occupational Medicine in Płock as a transport psychologist. As an active promoter of mental health education, she has led projects tailored for children, teenagers, and adults within the Masovian Voivodeship. She is currently enhancing her skills further, training to become a Solution-Focused Therapist. She effectively merges her love for psychology and nature. As a certified Forest Bathing Guide of The Mindful Tourist, she uses her deep connection with nature and passion for mental health to promote the therapeutic benefits of the forest environment.

Agata Bielski (Heilpraktikerin für Psychotherapy - German Healing Practitioner for Psychotherpy, Resilience Coach and SYA accredited Shinrin Yoku Guide & Instructor)

Shaped by her love for nature and Japanese culture, Agata explores shinrin yoku's role in holistic health. Her experiences in naturopathy and holistic healthcare marketing deepened her understanding of holistic influences on mind and body. Intrigued by the positive effects of Shinrin Yoku, she became a member of the ShinrinYoku Association to promote these beneficial forest practices in Germany. Agata's goal is to heighten awareness of mind-body-nature symbiosis and advocate for nature's inclusion in holistic healing, aiming for harmony between human wellness and nature. In her work with the association, she facilitates knowledge sharing on forest therapy, collaborates with field experts, and through educational initiatives and public outreach, encourages individuals to embrace nature's therapeutic potential for sustainable, holistic well-being.

Michale Hebben (ICF coach, Mountain Guide, SYA accredited Shinrin Yoku Guide & Instructor)

Michael Hebben is a valuable member of the Shinrin Yoku Association. He's an ICF-certified coach, Shinrin Yoku guide, and breathwork instructor whose practices deeply intertwine with his love for nature. With a background in Intensive Care Medicine and change management, he now harnesses the transformative power of nature for personal and professional development. His innovative approach includes online 'walking and talking' coaching, complemented by breathwork, fostering personal and professional growth while deepening connections with nature. His continued exploration of nature in his free time and his passion for conservation inform and enrich his coaching methods. Michael is also committed to advocating for sustainable living and environmental responsibility. He's continually expanding his expertise in nature coaching. His commitment and unique approach greatly enhance the breadth and depth of the Shinrin Yoku Association.

Amanda Wilson (SYA accredited Shinrin Yoku Guide & Wellness Director of Peninsula Hot Springs)

Amanda leads the development and implementation of world class wellness programs for guests and employees at Peninsula Hot Springs, providing excellence in wellness philosophy, education and operational delivery. By adopting a holistic approach, Amanda provides strategic direction and stewardship, leading a growing team in Wellness, Spa and Retail. Responsible for the delivery of immersive wellbeing experiences, workshops and retreats curating an annual calendar of special events, Amanda has established the wellness strategic plan to support the effective achievement of key business objectives and to position Peninsula Hot Springs as a world leader in Wellness Tourism. Amanda is also studying to become a Shinrin Yoku - Forest Bathing Guide and will offer Forest Bathing and Nature Connection practices at Peninsula Hot Springs. Key professional appointments include General Manager and Wellness Director at Willow Urban Retreat, Project Manager and Business Development Consultant at Chiva Som Resorts, Wellness Director with Canyon Ranch Resorts and Cluster Spa and Wellness Director at Minor Hotels.

Jesse Brown (SYA accredited Shinrin Yoku Guide)

Jesse brings a lifelong love of nature to his Shinrin Yoku practice. Living on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, USA, he has spent many years exploring the beauty of nature. He has been exploring his interior journey as a practitioner of Zen Buddhism for more than a decade and mindfully journeying with others as a Spiritual Director since 2011. He has also explored the exterior journey as a pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago in Spain in 2018 and again in 2019. He believes Shinrin Yoku presents a powerful way of experiencing the intersection of the interior and exterior journeys we are all on. From that space we can realize our health and wellbeing are inextricably linked to the health and wellbeing of nature.

Amy Christensen (SYA accredited Shinrin Yoku Guide & Instructor)

Amy, an Awareness and Empowerment Coach, and Forest Bathing Guide, brings a unique blend of playfulness, profound self-understanding, and love for nature to her work with the Shinrin Yoku Association. Her own journey, once plagued by self-doubt, transformed into empowerment through deep self-awareness and the healing power of nature. This personal evolution allows Amy to facilitate clients’ connection with nature and themselves, fostering joy and internal validation rather than seeking external affirmation. Based in Washington State and Mexico City, Amy continually leverages her experiences and surroundings to enrich the Association’s initiatives. She is a testament to the transformative power of nature and self-awareness, contributing an invaluable perspective to the field of forest bathing and its role in well-being.

Ethical Standards Framework for Education and Shinrin Yoku Practitioners

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