We are nature, and yet sometimes we forget. Through the practice of yoga, we remember how to speak the natural and subtle languages of the body and breath.
We live in a world alien to our biology. We hold second brains in our hands through our devices. We are permanently in a state of fight or flight. We clad our feet in hard-wearing shoes. We live in manipulated conditions of heat, air-con, and blue light. We are overstimulated and undernourished—no wonder the world is straining under spikes in poor mental wellbeing and physical health.
We forgot our primal instinct. We forgot how to feel. When we allow ourselves to return to our natural state of being we find a sense of renewal, connection, clarity, energy, and vibrancy. Our gut health improves, our sleep patterns reset, and we feel happier. Everything makes sense again.
We can see an echo of these effects when we slow down and practice yoga, meditation, and breathwork. So what would happen if we combined these and took our yoga into nature?
1. Being At One With Your Surroundings
One of the primary benefits of taking your regularly scheduled yoga classes outside is that you can spend more time in nature, rediscovering your surroundings. By dedicating more of our day to nature, and being outside often, we are actually sending signals to our brains and bodies that we are back in our native environment. We are reminding ourselves of our natural state of alertness, our innate energy levels, and how much we can truly focus.
Did you know that the mental well-being attributes of the outdoors have long been known through the Japanese concept of Shirin Yoko or “Forest bathing” which is the country's antidote for sadness, stress, and disconnection? Through practising yoga outdoors we are also able to enjoy all the gifts that nature can bring us. For example, the presence of the birdsong soundtrack, which we often forget about. We spend so much time tied to our computers, our phones, and our TVs, that we often fail to remember that nature comes with its very own calming sounds. Yoga outside will help you pause long enough to notice these tiny creatures that live amongst us. Not only that but it’s been proven that birdsong is known to help boost serotonin levels and happiness.
By taking your mat outside and laying it down amongst the trees, you are also offering your mind and body the chance to heighten their sensory awareness. Picture this…you are going through your regular yoga routine, but with the breeze on your skin, the dance of nature’s shadows around you, and the hum of the bees in the air. Nature has a way of cleansing your sensory system to note all of these sounds and feelings, tearing you away from an otherwise overly stimulated world.
2. Discover New Places You’ve Never Been Before
If you are a yogi who already likes to practice outside, then you may find that during the summer months, you are planning on doing some travelling. Taking your mat with you on your journey can help you truly discover new places. Our mats are the ideal travel companion, as they can roll up, and using one of our Yoga Mat Carry Strap, you can take it anywhere. Also, our range of eco-conscious Teddy Mats is ideal for supporting an outdoor practice - no matter the environment. They are foldable, lightweight, portable, and machine washable so perfect if you get a little dirty or sandy!
By taking your yoga practice to new spaces in nature, you are further challenging yourself. Without knowing the terrain, setting up your mat on uneven surfaces, or offering yourself a change in light and scenery, you are upping your ability to truly strengthen and engage your core. Not only will your body be more in tune with your yoga poses, but your mind will also be further engaged.
3. The Added Benefits To Your Everyday Yoga Routine
There are plenty of benefits to doing a regular yoga routine for both your mind and body. Even if you only have a small amount of time a week, yoga can help you centre yourself, encourage positive effects on your mood and also, get your body moving. We often forget that nature is a helpful tool to get us to feel more relaxed. As the summer months come around the corner, we need to remember the power of the sun. Vitamin D has been shown to play an important role in regulating mood and decreasing the risk of depression. Does anything sound better than rolling out your mat in the summer and soaking all the natural benefits from the sun?
Another additional benefit is the natural airflow. Nothing feels more cleansing than a light breeze of fresh air. If you aren’t new to the world of yoga, then you will understand that breathwork is a key focus in every practice. Well, breathwork takes on a whole new meaning and you can “drop in” and maintain the practice for longer as we breathe the freshest oxygen or “Prana”. This helps with our overall recalibration of the nervous system and restores our depleted energy.