As we celebrate Spring and Earth Day this week, we contemplate the connections of being in nature with the practice of yoga.
As humans, we experience an undeniable pull to nature. When we are outdoors, our body and our mind automatically feel lighter and life seems simpler. Nature immediately takes us to a place of being that can sometimes take years of dedicated yoga practice to achieve. There are many ways that nature and yoga parallel significant lessons. To intertwine them is a harmonious practice. Nature’s lessons are life lessons:
Change is constant, and inevitable; embracing change is how we adapt best to the future.
Do not worry about the past or the future, enjoy the present moment, the beauty in front of you.
Nature feels like “home” because it is where we came from and where we will return. Thus, being in nature allows us to relax and be ourselves, with a deep wisdom that everything is going to be okay.
Because being in nature helps us to be present, we can to begin to undo the layers of distractions that bind us and therefore, to get to the core of our true selves. In turn we may use this lesson as a tool to give up the distractions that we allow ourselves in life when we are not sure of how to get to the core of what is essential in our healing, and get past our stuck patterns. When we are no longer working on the outside, but instead can turn toward our inner work.
The unexpected and uncomfortable situations that arise when we are out in nature are great lessons for embracing rather than battling the elements and the unpleasantries that come up in life in general: the rain, the bugs, the turn of the weather…. We can turn it all around to see the positive side: the rain is necessary for the beauty of nature to blossom and for our own need for daily water, all creatures great and small have a necessary part in helping to balance the ecosystem, there is a need and a beauty in every season, …
Relate to what is around you. The breeze deepens your awareness for breathing. From our yogic perspective, we know that if we keep returning to our breath, we come back to the present moment, then the unexpected nuisances are not as great as we make them out to be.
Though the breath is a great tool that allows us to bring ourselves back to the present moment, we also have our other senses. We can see, hear, smell, feel and taste nature! That is one reason that people intuitively enjoy aromatherapy, bringing the aroma of nature inside. Familiar scents become soothing and it is not just the aromatic benefit of certain plants physiologically, but emotionally and in the long run, hormonally too. This has profound effects on our neurobiology!
Practicing yoga and meditation while in nature brings us back to gratitude and respect: we can then begin to deepen our acceptance and understanding that we are connected to every living thing around us, and appreciate the “wholeness”of life. We become more dedicated to taking care of ourselves, each other and our earth.
As yoga means “union,” by practicing outdoors we can feel connected to nature, humanity and to ourselves.
Enjoy finding exponential value in getting outdoors to appreciate nature and to incorporate some aspect of yoga. Share with us some of your practice!