JANUARY, 2015 — Yoga, Nature and the Great Outdoors
Yoga is a buzzword these days that we hear from all corners of the globe and is growing to become a popular mainstream activity. Becoming a way of life for many curious fitness trends and modern-day soul seekers, people are dabbling their toes and sun salutations in understanding this ancient practice based upon a tradition that is thousands of years old.
Yoga is viewed as a practice that improves fitness and our general wellness and it is not only based on the physical practice of asanas but the ancient yogic texts, over 2,500 years ago, used yoga to teach us how to identify and understand the nature of mind and our overall energetic health and wellness in relation to the cosmos. Those are pretty big ideas for the modern wellness seeker and we are discovering ways to best understand this in today’s world.
When thinking about the reasons to start practicing yoga, many people are seeking to discover what benefits await them once they’ve begun the practice.
Experienced yoga practitioners have probably noticed the benefits already such as better sleep and an improved immune system. Western science is starting to provide some concrete clues as to how yoga works to improve health, heal aches and pains and keep sickness at bay while the ancient mysteries of enlightenment and ‘being one with the universe’ prevail as tempting delicacies and just rewards if we continue with the practice long enough.
We know one thing is for certain, the benefits of yoga provide both instant satisfaction and lasting transformation. Both are extremely important in the fitness world. Too much time with too few results can be incredibly discouraging and monotonous routines week after week can lead to stagnation. Yoga can change a person’s physical and mental capacity quickly, while preparing the mind and body for long-term health.
Practicing Yoga Outside Has Great Benefits
A good way of bringing the ancient practice of yoga to life and avoiding yoga practice becoming a monotonous routine is taking it outside a closed space of the gym and into the peace and tranquility of nature. Within the boundaries of a studio, yoga teachers do their best to create an ambience of soft lights and pleasant sounds but striking a mood is probably just an attempt to evoke a natural setting – the great outdoors.
Connecting yoga with nature is an ideal way to identify with the original lineage of this ancient practice and to offer a different dimension to our lives from the modern city life. The importance of union with nature, humanity and the universe is felt even more when practiced outdoors. Being in a natural and peaceful environment creates a perfect setting for dropping the distractions and focusing on meditation and our own inner processes that we seek to understand every day.
The idea that yoga is predominantly a physical exercise program is a generally accepted phenomenon these days and that is fine as the benefits of this practice and getting a workout done are noteworthy. While it’s also pretty good for students to be present, mentally present, during a fitness routine that can make all the difference in the world during a workout. But the moment we step outside into the abundance and beauty of nature and connect our breath with the rhythms of the trees, ocean and air, we can begin to sense that essence of life that we know deep down that is always there.
It is connecting with that moment in a stretch and a breath that we realize that we can reach out and find this cosmic pulse with our own will and awareness at any time we desire. This is the magic and essence of what a yoga practice can bring and what was taught through the sages long ago that we can easily transmit in our modern day lives.