Outdoor yoga can enhance your practice in a whole new way. Nature connects us to our roots; our relationship to the earth, the grass, the trees, and the ocean plays an important role in our evolution. For example, a recent study found that the naturally occurring patterns in organic forms have calming, focusing qualities. Therefore, practicing yoga outside is a great way to tap into a heightened meditative state. Below, we run through some of the main benefits of outdoor yoga and how getting back to nature can take your practice to a new level.
How outdoor yoga can enhance your practice
1. Reach for the sky
Yoga teachers often instruct students to reach to the earth or turn their gaze to the sky. When practicing yoga outside, you can truly access these directions. The feeling of the grass between your fingers and the warmth of the sun on your back can help you feel more grounded. Equally, when turning your eyes up to the sky and seeing the clouds move in the wind, you can feel your body engaging with nature on a deeper level. By embedding your practice in nature, you can remind yourself that we’re all part of something bigger.
2. The extra benefits of grounding
It isn’t just the spiritual aspect of outdoor yoga that can help you feel more grounded – literally connecting your feet to the earth is also shown to have significant benefits. For instance, walking barefoot allows the multiple joints and muscles in your feet to stretch. However, it doesn’t stop there. According to a study by The Journal of Environmental Public Health, a physical connection between the skin and the earth promotes the transmission of electrons. Electrons are the charged particles found in atoms, that are shown to reduce pain, balance hormone levels, and manage free radical oxidation.
3. Feel more energetic
Research published by the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that people who spend more time outdoors have more energy. Theorists have suggested that this is connected to the way our nervous system has evolved. The human body punctuates moments of stress with bursts of energy, which was originally a survival tactic related to hunting. Now, when the body is back in the natural environment, this feeling of heightened alertness translates into feelings of vigor and vitality.
4. Be in the moment
As these studies prove, nature awakens the senses. For instance, natural light is the perfect antidote to the blue-lit screens of phones and computers. Equally, our ears can pick up the gentle sound of the breeze and inhale the cool fresh air. Thanks to these subtle sensations, we can feel more present and connected to the environment. What’s more, the color green is shown to have de-stressing qualities. According to Esther Sternberg M.D., the author of Healing Space: The Science of Place and Well-Being “the color green is the default mode for our brains.”
5. A dose of vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential to absorbing calcium and supporting healthy bones. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a fragile, poorly-formed skeletal structure as well as various types of cancer and heart disease. Often, people will try to promote their vitamin D levels with supplements – however, before reaching for the pills, consider outdoor yoga. After all, the best way to get an extra dose of vitamin D is to get out in the sun.