Within the last year I have developed a deep interest in how my own and others’ yoga practices may benefit from moving out of our homes and yoga studios and into nature. I believe that practicing outside can help us to feel more connected. When we feel more connected with the world, we are more likely to act with compassion toward all living beings, on and off of our yoga mats. When we connect our bodies and our breath to nature, we are more likely to feel a sense of oneness, to experience union with God (or, if the G- word’s not your jam, with your True Self). That is the goal of yoga!
For example, if we want to feel fresh air in our bodies, why not go outside where there are no barriers between the oxygen-producing trees and our noses, between the carbon dioxide thirsty trees and our mindful exhales?
If we want to experience clarity of mind, why not go outside where there are no walls to trap our suffering and no ceilings to impede our view of the seemingly infinite sky?
If we want to feel one with other beings, why not practice in their homes and their habitats only to recall what we have always known- that their homes and habitats are, of course, also our own?
Take your practice outside. Ditch your yoga mat and let the grass tickle your toes. Don’t just imagine rooting your feet into the earth…do it! Feel the damp of the dirt sneaking through the seat of your yoga pants. Let mosquitoes buzz around your face in mountain pose. Delight in ants dancing in the grass during forward folds. Embody the pigeon, the crow, the tree, in form and in thought as you breathe your own animal breath and move your own animal body into shapes that revere your fellow creatures, yourself.
Let the divine in you bow to the divine earth.