Get your ass-ana outside!.It’s almost summer, so it’s time to get your ass-ana outside! Spending time in nature is known to have profound effects on our physical and mental well-being. Combine that with your yoga practice and you have yourself a yogi euphoria.
You’re probably used to doing Downward Dog in a yoga studio or in the privacy of your own living room a lot latetly. And while both of these scenarios have their benefits, there is nothing quite like practicing yoga outside in nature.
Whether it’s on a deck, a patio, or on the grass, yoga in the garden offers many benefits that just can’t be experienced indoors. If you’re interested in moving your yoga practice outdoors but need some convincing, I’ve got you covered.
Garden yoga engages your senses.
Studies show that when two or more of your senses are engaged, relaxation follows. The feel of the sunshine on your shoulders, the scent of the flowers, the chirp of the birds all work together to release tension and let you deeper into your practice.
It challenges your practice.
Any time you change up your routine and remove yourself from your comfort zone, there is an opportunity for growth. Practicing yoga outside on slightly uneven ground challenges your core to fully engage, for example, getting into Tree pose underneath the leafy canopy of an oak tree just may open up a new way of experiencing your body, mind, and spirit. Infact, many yoga poses gained their names from plants and animals. Practicing yoga outside allows the yogi to embody the sense of the pose while actually looking at what inspired that pose.
Outdoor yoga creates mental alertness.
As much as nature relaxes us, it also creates heightened awareness. While practicing yoga outdoors, your brain is reminded that it’s in its natural environment, and begins to reset itself to be more alert, leading to feelings of energy and vitality. I’d say that feeling relaxed while being alert and energetic is the definition of Balance.
It can positively impact your brain and hormone levels.
Feeling stressed? You can thank the stress hormone cortisol for that. But the good news is that levels of this hormone decrease when you expose yourself to an outdoor environment rather than a concrete-clad urban one. And if that didn’t convince you, consider this: Research shows that meditation and other activities like yoga that have a meditative quality actually decrease your amygdala, the part of your brain that does the fight-or-flight thing.
Phisically moving our bodies and engaging with nature as it surrounds us inspires a sense of connection to the earth. Grounding is the scientific concept of receiving the Earth’s surface electrons through the physical connection between skin and the ground. Reconnecting our bodies with the earth has many benefits including reduced pain and better sleep.