3 Hidden Benefits of Yoga Outdoors

09-Mar-2016

Mother Nature has always been there to nurture us. The great yogis recognized its restorative power and in the beginning yoga was only taught and practiced in nature.  


Not until recently in this digital age of instant gratification have we become more distant from nature’s benefits.  However, by establishing an outdoor practice of yoga and meditation we can more easily tap into a peaceful state of mind that will greatly benefit our daily lives as well as our physical yoga practice.


Here are three benefits to doing your yoga and meditation outside:


  1. Strengthen your meditation practice


There is no better way to practice being in the present moment than while birds are singing, bugs are flying and nature is coming to play with you in downward dog.  While insects can quite literally be a pain while practicing yoga or meditation, the lesson they can provide during that time is invaluable.  Working to remain present and one with nature helps to foster greater patience and determination that can spill over into your everyday life.  


  1. Improve your balance


Depending on your mindset, it can be difficult to find the “perfect” place to practice yoga and meditation outdoors.  By accepting nature as it is with all the lumpy bumps under your mat, you will improve your physical balance immensely.  While I wouldn’t recommend practicing everyday on an uneven surface, the benefits do include increased strength of the leg and core muscles you may not normally tap into for stabilization.   Also, practicing yoga outdoors can offer an opportunity to balance one’s emotional need for control and perfection.  By embracing life without trying to modify it you devote more energy to allowing, accepting and enjoying the perfect imperfections.


  1. Disconnect and Reconnect


At times, we all need to disconnect from the world we’ve created.  Our minds can run a mile a minute and while a yoga practice can help to bring us into our bodies and to a more meditative state. Some days we may still find that list of chores moving through our head during our sun salutations.  When we practice in the same place every day, whether that’s at home or a studio, we create thought patterns that can be triggered by those familiar surroundings.


Practicing yoga in nature can give you the extra boost to disconnect from any nagging thoughts of the day by taking you out of your normal environment.  Being in nature creates new stimuli that aids in keeping the mind present and free of distractions which ultimately allows us to reconnect with ourselves in a deeper, more meaningful way.


We are creatures of nature, always have been, always will be.  So take advantage of your natural connection with nature and get outside with your practice!


- Rebecca Zulueta has worked in the field of wildlife ecology for over 10 years, studying everything from chimpanzees to brown bears around the world. She has a joint Master’s of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Biology & Sustainable Development.  She is also a certified Wilderness First Responder, Bear Safety Instructor, Certified Yoga Instructor (RYT), and Reiki Practitioner.  Rebecca is currently designing creative approaches to help connect people to nature and themselves.  To join Rebecca on her adventures through the natural world visit www.thenaturalwild.com


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