The Benefits of Outdoor Yoga
When we take our yoga outdoors, we are immersed in the bigger picture, we are absorbed by the pulse of the planet and we begin to settle with the knowledge that we are all part of the same beautiful, rythmic dance.
The purpose of Yoga is to realise that we are all connected – not just within the human tribe but with the air we breathe, the earth beneath, the water feeding the land, the fire of the sun. The elements are part of us and we are part of them. When we take our yoga outdoors, we are immersed in the bigger picture, we are absorbed by the pulse of the planet and we begin to settle with the knowledge that we are all part of the same beautiful, rythmic dance. It is true that surrounded by Nature, our practise intensifies and our awareness heightens.
But just how does this happen?
Becoming quite literally ‘rooted’ in our practise helps us rise up with strength, to expand, to create space in all the tight areas of our existence. Being outdoors encourages us to feel more. An uneven earth requires us to focus, control our breathing, to become still and challenge our balance. It asks us to tune in to our internal landscape, to draw attention to the lower body instead of the energy of the mind. This is deeply calming and it makes us feel safe. We learn to trust our inner guide.
A quiet, controlled space is a wonderful environment but how true is this of real life? If the wind is howling on a clifftop during our practise, this will slow our transitions right down (for fear of toppling over!). A butterfly landing on an outstretched arm reminds us that stillness encourages beauty and by living quietly in the moment, the future will look after itself. We can take these messages into our daily life. How we move, how we transition through challenges, how we process the ups and downs of life will depend on how unwavering and content in the moment we are.
Being in nature refuels me. It is said that spending time outdoors signals to the brain that we are back where we belong. The nervous system relaxes and this brings a sense of hope. Take any asana into nature and its full expression comes alive. The poses were originally developed to invoke certain qualities or energies in us and the cues were taken from Nature. When I practise Tadasana (mountain pose) outdoors, I cannot help but feel serenity and strength. Vrikksana (the tree) brings a sense of perseverance, resilience and understanding of the circle of life. Practise on the paddle board and we have no choice but to ‘go with the flow’! Once we experience these qualities, I challenge anyone not to take them through their day.
In essence, Yoga practised outdoors is Sacred, it returns us to our where it all began. There is no better studio than the skies above, the earth below, the sunshine lighting our way – and with Mother Nature gently whispering to us through the voice the wind, we are reminded that we are alive and we were born to be Wild!