Having the chance to do yoga in a beautiful setting can be invigorating!
Think being surrounded by nature, breathing in crisp air, and feeling sunshine on your shoulders. But you shouldn’t only take this approach when you’re on holiday. You should try to incorporate nature into your daily yoga routine because it offers many benefits, not just for your physical wellbeing but your spiritual health too, says Sally Perkins.
If you regularly practice yoga, you know how it can often feel spiritual because it encourages self-awareness, while quieting the mind and cultivating a sense of wholeness. By adding nature to your yoga routine, you can create an even more powerful exercise. So, when you’re ready to have your daily yoga session, take your mat outside! Here’s why it can be great for you.
IT CLEARS YOUR HEAD
It’s not always easy to cultivate a clear mind when doing yoga. Life is stressful, and it can get in the way of erasing your thoughts and feelings. That’s why doing yoga outside in a peaceful spot can be so helpful. In a Japanese study, when people were sent into the forest for two nights, they were found to have lower levels of cortisol, or the stress hormone, than people who’d been in the city for that amount of time. This is known as “forest bathing” which helps to encourage feelings of calm by taking leisurely walks in the forest. Although you might not have a forest nearby, you do have greenery. Do yoga under the trees – it’s perfect for getting you into the right state of mind.
IT REDUCES INFLAMMATION
There are certain yoga poses that reduce inflammation in the body because of their excellent de-stressing function. Taking a trip outside into nature has the same effect of making you stress less. Combining yoga with the outdoors, such as by taking your workout outside into the garden, is therefore great for your physical wellbeing. Too much inflammation in the body is associated with a variety of illnesses, such as asthma, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Studies have found that spending time in nature decreases your body’s inflammation and blood pressure levels.
IT INCREASES YOUR PATIENCE
When you commit to a regular yoga routine, you learn to let go and surrender to the present moment. You calm down your mental noise and listen to your intuition and wise inner being. This can have many benefits in the rest of your life, such as by making you more patient in your relationships and with your children. Being in nature enhances your patience and spirituality. When you’re holding a yoga pose and have to surrender to the moment, the calmness around you in birdsong and pretty nature views can make it easier to let go.
IT MAKES YOU BECOME MORE MINIMALIST
Life is full of clutter. We surround ourselves with lots of material goods and gadgets that we think we need. By stripping them away, we come to see that we can just “be” in nature and that we don’t really need much to be happy. Being minimalist is about cutting out distractions that are blocking our true calling and passions. Yoga that centers us and the perspective we gain about ourselves and life from nature can help us to become more minimalist.
IT IMPROVES YOUR BALANCE
Muladhara is a chakra that’s linked to our sense of security and feelings of being grounded. Certain poses, such as the warrior poses, help to activate this chakra, and it can be valuable to do so because you’ll leave your yoga mat feeling more centered within yourself. Nature can also encourage this spiritual balance. The simple act of taking your sneakers off and doing yoga poses barefoot in the garden, feeling the soil and grass at your feet, can make you feel more connected to the universe.
IT ENCOURAGES MINDFULNESS
Mindfulness is when you’re aware of the current situation – what’s happening, what you’re doing, and where you are. You’re fully absorbed by the moment. Being mindful provides benefits for your health. These include mental resilience and an increase in the body’s ability to fight off infection. When you do yoga in nature, it’s easier to become more mindful. Nature appeals to the five senses – you feel the sunshine warming your skin, smell the flowers, hear the birds, and so on. This helps you to focus on where you are and concentrate on your yoga poses much easier than if you were in a noisy gym. Yoga has many mental, physical, and spiritual benefits. These are increased when you take your yoga practice out into nature. Surrounded by natural beauty, you’ll be able to gain benefits such as more mindfulness, patience, emotional balance, and lower stress. The combination of yoga and nature will make you healthier to face life’s challenges while preserving your spirituality. Sally Perkins is the Content Editor for a small spirituality focused hiking, camping, and outdoors sites.
SALLY PERKINS is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.