One of the greatest ways to feel connected to the world inside of you and the world around you is to step into nature.
When you spend too much time indoors or with your nose buried in your phone or computer screen, it’s easy to lose touch with how you’re feeling. Where yoga teaches us to use mindful breath and movement to tune out distractions and to tune into the present moment, stepping out into nature allows us to feel connected simply by being.
Taking your yoga outdoors to a park or the beach, where you can breathe in clean air and enjoy beautiful scenery, enhances yoga’s myriad benefits.
Being in nature reminds us that we are connected to something greater than ourselves.
Flowing through sun salutations under warm sunny skies or practicing the oceanic sounding Ujayii pranayama next to the ocean soothes our nervous system. We’re at one with the world around us.
Nature reminds us to embrace the scents of flowers, the sounds of birds and bees, the feel of grass beneath our feet, the vision of fluctuating skies, and the feel of the earth beneath our toes. Similarly, in meditation, we learn to allow the fluctuations of our thoughts without reacting to them because we know they are temporary and fleeting. Learning to flow with the current keeps us grounded in the present moment, one of yoga’s primary goals.
Even if you can’t be outside on the grass or sand, many elements of yoga help you visualize it. Several asanas in yoga are symbolic of nature, from ones embodying the elements of earth’s grounding, air’s lightness, water’s flowing, and fire’s heat.
You’ve probably heard yoga instructors use descriptions invoking the great outdoors like rooting down into the earth in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) or spreading upwards like the branches of a tree in Tree Pose (Vrksasana). Another way yoga mimics nature is by many poses named after animals like Eagle (Garudasana), Crow (Bakasana), and Tortoise (Kurmasana). When we spread our wings or hone our focus, we are pulling in the power of these wild creatures to feel connected to the universe.
Whether you can get outside or not, we’ve got four yoga practices themed and designed to remind you of the healing power of nature.
1. Pradeep Teotia - Build Your Inner Fire
2. Josey Prior - Balancing in Flamingo
3. Patrick Montgomery - Yoga for Rock Climbers: Upper Extremities
4. Denelle Numis - Element Yoga: Earth
If you’re feeling adventurous, take your phone outside and use the YogaDownload app to practice outdoors.
We'd love to see where you took your practice. Feel free to take photos and tag with the hashtag #goyouromway to share!
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