There is something very delicious about being in nature whilst reaching into contact with our inner edges; expanding our horizons, stretching just beyond our comfort zones, and making space for our selves to become totally present. This is what our practice of Embodied Meditation at Yobaba Lounge is all about.
Here are 5 good reasons to radically revitalise your yoga practice by moving it into the great outdoors:
1. Catch a Breath of Fresh Air
There’s nothing like the smell of morning dew on the ground, deliciously fresh air, and warm sunshine to infuse new life into your yoga practice. As this study illustrates, exercising in nature not only transforms your mood, it also improves your overall performance - particularly when compared to cases of indoor exercise - and can help improve your stamina. Therefore, taking your yoga out into the open air can revolutionise your practice by infusing it with newfound vitality. The physiological benefits of the detoxified oxygen levels occurring in nature, verses cities, will also help to stimulate blood flow and muscular performance, which will in turn also help to soothe and calm the mind in preparation for meditation.
2. Change Your Perspective
Surrounding ourselves with external beauty can help to invigorate and inspire us. Whether it be an electrifying sunset skyline, a tranquil beachside horizon, or thrilling mountain-peak view, the process of practicing yoga in a new and stimulating environment can transform your perspective. Ironically, going outside has the power to instantly transform the texture of our inner space. For most of us, being emerged in nature automatically triggers sensations of awe, joy, relaxation and a general mindfulness. So, if you spend most of your time indoors - including when on the yoga mat - a change of scenery can quite literally help shift your perspective, bringing new insights to all elements of life. Studies researching into the vast benefits of walking in nature are now finding that outdoor activities, such as hiking, can actually change the brain. So, instead of staring at the same familiar old four walls, why not try basking in the wonderment of nature's daily display.
3. Improve Your Mood
Birds singing, a cool breeze on your skin, and the sun-light shining on your face - it’s really not difficult to understand why spending time outdoors makes us happier. According to a study in the Environmental Science and Technology Journal, participants who regularly exercised in a natural outdoor environment reported a significant decrease in tension, anger, and depression, and an increase in enjoyment, satisfaction, and energy compared to those performing the same activity indoors. The study claims that even five to ten minutes of outdoor activity vastly improves mental health and general well being. So start venturing outdoors more regularly and boost your mood and energy levels too. Make room for life to be joyful!
4.Connect with Source
Sadly, modern living has rendered most of us utterly detached from nature and from that which nourishes us - The Earth. A study published by the US National Library of Medicine reveal the significant health benefits of direct physical contact with plants and the earth on both our physical and mental health. One way of connecting with nature that has been rapidly growing in popularity amongst nature lovers is ‘Earthing’, otherwise known as ‘grounding’ or simply ‘barefoot walking’. Many people find Earthing an extremely accessible and simple holistic therapy that offers abundant healing properties. For us yogis, taking our yoga practice off the mat and out into the wild more regularly - whether it be in fields, woodlands, caves, beaches, or even rock-pools - can have wonderfully revitalising and blissful results on general health.
5.Salute the Sun
There is no sensation more delicious than that of sunlight tickling your skin at the break of dawn. Although the Sun Salutation can be enjoyed at any time, and in any location, there is a special kind of magic about doing it outdoors with the warmth of the sun generously beaming down over your moving body. Practicing your daily salutation outdoors has the power to elevate the yoga asanas involved from simple poses into a transcendent dance, transforming any paltriness into a full-body prayer. And there is a hugely freeing, ecstatic sensation of synchronicity to be experienced when your movements and surroundings are aligned in this way.
When practicing yoga in nature, be sure to pack lots of water and a form of protection from prolonged, direct sunlight. We also recommend taking a chia seed lunch pack, and roasted sunflower and pumpkin seed sachets (or other high-protein snack) to re-boost your energy levels and blood sugar once you’ve finished your practice - especially if it takes place at high altitude. It is also wise to wear layers in case of sudden weather change. And it is always advisable to throw off those socks and shoes and let your feet breathe and connect with the earth. In our experience, mats are not necessary when practicing outdoors.
So, next time the feeling takes you, why not venture outdoors with your yoga practice and see what new tantalising sensations unfold.