Yoga continues to play an invaluable role in many people’s lives. It can present significant health benefits and tends to fit well into many routines. Not to mention that it can be adapted to fit into a range of spiritual and secular practices.
One of the ways that yoga can have a positive influence in your life is by enhancing your relationship with the natural world. While it may not currently be a part of your regular routine, establishing a regular outdoor yoga practice can present significant holistic benefits. Too many people also overlook the fact that yoga can be both more enjoyable and enriching if you make the effort to head into nature once in a while.
Let’s explore this idea a little further. What are the ways yoga can increase your time in nature and why does this make a difference?
Yoga is an activity many people perform inside. This may be in their own homes, in purpose-built studios, or at their local gym. So, why is it important to utilize this activity to enhance your connections to the outside world?
The primary incentive is the wide range of health benefits from spending time in nature. Simply spending time regularly surrounded by green spaces and observing nature can help lower blood pressure. Moderate exercise outdoors can reduce the risk of chronic conditions, such as cancer and obesity, too. There are also connections between exposure to nature and greater cognitive focus, which is vital in everyday life as well as your yoga practice.
Alongside the health benefits, you can also find outdoor activities open you up to more community experiences. Too much time spent indoors can be isolating and oppressive. Attending to your yoga routines in a variety of natural environments may also develop your appreciation and understanding of the ecosystems in your area. Not to mention that you can gain from positive social experiences by performing yoga in parks, forest areas, or beaches with others of a similar mindset.
One of the main reasons that yoga can increase your time in nature is its innate flexibility. This isn’t an intentional pun on the physicality of yoga poses. Rather, it’s a nod to the fact that yoga can be performed pretty much anywhere. You don’t necessarily need any special equipment unless you want to use a mat or blocks to make things a little easier. Therefore, it is a perfect activity for your time in nature, no matter where you are.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t focus on specific needs, though. You may find certain environments or features more conducive to your personal approach. Do some research on local natural areas that don’t have a lot of foot traffic if you don’t want to be disturbed. If you find the sound of birdsong helpful for centering yourself, it can be smart to review appropriate areas with relevant habitats. For locations in which you have inclement weather, it may be smart to research alternative outdoor spaces that provide a little shelter for those rainy days.
The in-built flexibility of yoga can also mean you can combine it with other actions. It’s worth considering how your daily walk can be a positive aspect of your yoga practice. Are there parks along the way that can be a stop-off point for a few poses? Are there features of the landscape that can double up as natural apparatus in place of yoga blocks or support for arch poses?
Taking your yoga practice outside is not just a way to increase the time you spend passively gaining from your natural surroundings. It can also be a key activity for engaging more meaningfully with the environment. Much like gardening, camping, and birdwatching, outdoor yoga enables you to embrace and learn from the natural world while attending to your pursuits. This tends to make for a more holistically beneficial experience.
Many people find it positive to pair yoga in nature with meditative practices. This involves utilizing components of the natural world to support your focus. In this way, nature is instrumental in grounding you, helping to imbue your yoga sessions with a deeper connection to the world. This can be especially helpful if you’re experiencing feelings of being adrift in your life or find that you lack energy.
Alongside this, both nature and yoga are considered to have healing powers. Combining the two can be a powerful way to enhance the effects of each. Outside, you can ensure you’re breathing fresh air while performing your poses, nourishing your body as you channel the energy of the earth. You may also find it helpful to utilize poses alongside surroundings that are considered to symbolize specific natural elements, so you can relevantly address certain wellness challenges you’re facing.
Spending more time outdoors has significant positive effects on your physical and mental wellness. Yoga can be instrumental in helping you gain these benefits through its innate flexibility; you can practice almost anywhere. Not to mention that the activity in itself can help you enhance your meaningful relationship with the outside world. With a few simple adjustments to your routine, you can ensure yoga in nature is a positive part of your lifestyle.
By Katie Brenneman
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