Yoga in itself is beneficial. But doing it outdoors puts the cherry on the cake. While I say, ‘yoga’ I don’t only mean ‘asanas’ or ‘postures’ but also pranayama or yogic breathing and ‘Dhyana’ or meditation.I have done outdoor yoga almost anywhere and everywhere including some good resorts like JW Marriott Mussoorie.
Yoga is an inward journey in bettering oneself emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. As adults, we don’t always give ourselves permission to move our bodies and play outdoors, to put our hands on the ground, to just stare up at the sky. When we do, it’s invigorating!
- Awakens your senses:
You smell the flowers or wet earth, you feel the grass under your feet, you listen to the birds chirping or the bees buzzing, the vibrant colours of the luscious green and sky blues are healing for the eyes. Your senses become active. Hence natural scenery can heighten one's awareness.
- Better listening power:
When your outdoors there are no cars honking or busy people running around, where one can get lost in their hectic life and chaos of their own mind. But when you are with nature, one automatically calms down and you start listening to your thoughts. You start understanding what you need because you have finally started listening to yourself
- Improves 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 practising every day on an uneven surface, the benefits do include increased strength of the leg and core muscles you may not normally tap into for stabilisation. Also, practising 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.
- Gain Energy:
Did you know that spending time outside actually gives you more energy? Studies show that being outside triggers signals to our brains that the body is in its natural environment and triggers the senses to stay alert, therefore giving you more energy! If you do an outdoor practice after a long day, it’s sure to give you a second wind.
- Alleviates Stress:
Doing yoga alone takes away one's stress but when one does it in nature, it is even more cathartic. Studies have shown that people who are exposed to a forested environment more often have far less stress than those who are only in urban environments.
- Improves respiration:
Because one breathes in fresh air, it naturally makes one's respiration stronger as cleaner oxygen is going into the lungs making one more alert and improving their depleted energy.
- Gain Vitamin D:
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!
- Allow Yourself to Open Up to Something Greater:
Being outside in contact with mother earth and father sky connects you to your ancestors who made it possible for you to be on the mat today and at the same time breath out your legacy for all those that come after you. Your breath will be bigger, your gazing point (drishti) will feel more limitless by looking up at the sky, and you can easily be moved towards a more inward place. Don’t be surprised as you move into the koshas, layers of yourself that you cry, laugh, and feel the largeness of you when outdoors.
- Practising outdoors aligns you with Nature:
It is just amazing for your skin, your inner glow, and connecting to the greatest of living things, our planet. There are bugs, annoying noises, messes, rain, and some changing temperatures to add to our practice. But this is our planet. All of those aspects are part of the living entity that is Earth. In balance, we have some of the most amazing sunsets, gorgeous views of turquoise, greens, blues and whites blending into each other, and the fresh feeling of being in Paradise.I encourage any serious yogi to develop a meditation and asana practice outside to balance your inner, controlled practice. It is not only a benefit to us but a means of loving and appreciating our planet. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali explain that perfection in our practice is achieved when we are unaffected by the dualities. That is our goal, on the mat, and off. Then we can become true yogis full of compassion and presence.
Practising yoga outdoors is the ultimate way to connect with Mother Nature and also to give a refreshing boost to our body. Working in closed cubicles closes our minds and causes inactivity but outdoor yoga is an essential way of unleashing the beauty of nature and achieving the activeness required.
This article has been authored by Natasha Noel, yogini, TEDTalk speaker and social media influencer.