Practicing yoga is an excellent way to reconnect with yourself and get back in tune with the world around you. If you find yourself spending much of your day inside hunched over a computer, you can even use practicing yoga to reconnect with nature.
Taking your yoga practice into the outdoors gives you a chance to breathe in some fresh air and remember what it feels like to ground your feet back into the earth. Are you looking for a way to get more nature out of your yoga practice, to connect deeper? Here is some of our guidance for how to connect with nature through yoga.
Allow Nature to Inspire Your Practice
There is a reason that nature has inspired great works of art, music, and passion throughout the millennia. Nature is inspiring, but it can be challenging to remember it when you interact with it only a little every day.
Instead of forgetting about the awe that nature can inspire, allow it to shape your practice. Make your practice all about your attention and emotions towards nature, and you will find this outward thinking helping you reconnect with it in your mind and body.
Think about the time of day you most love. For some of us, that is the sunrise. While we might generally be asleep or in our vehicles commuting to work, we still love that time of day. For others, it might be sunset or twilight.
Whatever time of day naturally fills you up with more awareness for the sun and natural surroundings, try to focus your practice at this time. Watching the sun come up or set on your practice is an excellent way to bookend your day by reconnecting with nature.
Don’t just use the time to help dictate part of your practice. Is there a place you feel safe or inspired in? Seek out a location for your practice where you preferably won’t have a lot of other distractions.
Turn Off the Technology
When we are at home or in a studio, we often use calming, meditative music. It helps us distract our minds from the stresses of the world around us and focus our practice. We can tune out all the other noises and stimulations and listen to the music and ourselves.
Although music or other calming sounds can help you in your home, we suggest ditching it when you take your yoga practice outside. Instead, listen to the sounds of the world around you. Engage with the sound of the wind and the movement of wildlife, even if they are small noises.
The wildness and yet also patterned nature’s design can help us open our eyes to those same traits inside ourselves. It is helpful to start your practice in a more neutral pose and tune into all this, focusing your attention outward towards nature and its presence.
Then, bring your attention back to yourself and find the comparisons between your emotions and stillness and nature’s continuous movement and peace.
Flow with Natural Yoga Poses
Many yoga poses are named after animals or geological formations. The names themselves are meant to connect the yogi to their practice. However, it is easy for us to pass over the names, even though every name is filled with intention.
While you do your yoga practice outside, pay more attention to the names of the poses you move through. Use poses that invoke the way you want to reconnect with nature.
For example, are you looking for a practice that will help you feel grounded with the earth? Or do you want poses that will help you feel wild and free again?
Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)
The sun salutation is a flow sequence that most of us are familiar with instead of only one move. It is often a series of twelve integrated moves that are meant to be gracefully linked with asanas. Doing the sun salutation is a means of honoring the sun and is well-suited to practices at the beginning or end of the day.
Even when you do the sun salutation sequence in the middle of the day, you can connect with the sun and the sky above you. Notice the clouds and take the colors around you into account as you bring your mind outwards.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Mountain pose was named for the strength and groundedness it is meant to give your practice. It should help you to feel stable, unwavering in the face of adversity. Although it might seem like you are simply standing there, doing it with intention can reap some great health benefits.
Mountain pose gives you the opportunity to roll back your shoulders and stand tall, improving your posture. It also tightens your heart and can even relieve some symptoms of sciatica. You can use this as a starting or ending resting pose.
Either way, you should focus carefully on how your body is positioned in relation to the world around you and how your feet ground into the soil. Imagine becoming as merged with the earth as a mountain and feeling that expanse of connection.
Tree Pose (Vriksasana)
Another grounding pose is the tree pose. It is more active than the mountain pose, working on your balance and focus. It requires you to be as steady and unwavering as a tree to remain stable. Doing this pose outside can help to put you in the mindset of a tree. You have to remain firm to fight off toppling elements such as wind.
When you are in a tree pose, consider both the ground and the sky. As your “roots” reach deeply into the ground, giving you balance and stability, your arms as branches reach closer to the sky.
Eagle Pose (Garudasana)
Eagle pose can both ground you and connect you with your inner flight. During your time in this pose, stay completely focused as it requires quite a bit of balance. The pose has you bending towards the earth in your knees while you twist your arms and legs around each other.
During the moments of holding the pose, it will help you to feel grounded and in control of every part of your body as you remain tight to control it. The freedom comes in the release. As you unwrap your arms and then your legs and the blood flows freely again, you will often feel a sense of lightness.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Corpse pose might not have as naturally pleasing of a name. However, it is a way to completely ground yourself, connecting more of you to the earth than any other pose. Moreover, laying in savasana gives you the chance to decompress.
Many people think that this pose looks more like taking a nap than active yoga. However, it is said that it is one of the easiest to do but the hardest to master. This is because not only should your body be still, but so should your mind.
Only in these moments of peace can your mind let go of what you physically feel and truly feel connected to what’s around you.
Preparing yourself for your practice in nature is just as important as choosing the right place, time, and poses. Going barefoot is one of the best ways to reconnect with nature on a very physical level.
Having bare feet allows you to sink your toes into the dirt and grass as you ground yourself with the natural world around you. It also means less restriction in your clothes, so your blood can more easily move from the ground through the rest of your body.
If you decide to go barefoot, do so with some caution, mainly if you don’t usually go barefoot. Look around the spot for anything sharp such as rocks or metal, before taking your shoes off.
Once it is cleared, pay attention to the way your feet interact with the ground below you. Every time you find your attention wandering away from your practice or nature, pull your attention back to your connection with the earth.
Observe Your Breathing
Finally, one of the best ways to stay in tune with yourself and your surroundings is to work on breathing. Breathing has a lot of power in any practice. It helps you focus both inward and outward. With each inhale, cast your mind to your position in nature, your impact in your space. With each exhale, consider the world around you and your connection to it all.
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