As it becomes more common to work indoors, people’s time outside has decreased dramatically. Unfortunately, the health and wellness that the outdoors can affect decreases with it. Practicing yoga outside allows us to slow down, take note of what’s around us, and begin to reap the benefits of nature once again.
Have you been considering integrating outdoor yoga practices into your routine but haven’t been willing to step outside the box yet, literally? Here are some of the top benefits you can gain from taking your yoga practice outdoors.
Benefits of Practicing Outdoor Yoga
1. It helps you connect with nature.
In an age of almost constant screen time and connection, it can be challenging to feel connected to the natural world. We get used to augmented and virtual reality, even without glasses. It is only when we step outside and allow ourselves to focus on the world around us that our awareness can become renewed.
It is also important to remember that a significant part of a beneficial yoga practice is grounding. You need to be aware of your impact on where you sit or stand. In addition, you should be in touch with yourself and the world around you. This heightened awareness of nature brings more to your practice.
2. Being outside helps you heighten your awareness.
Nature does something special to our minds that we can never fully simulate in an interior setting. The natural world instinctively increases our awareness in a way that no room really can.
Initially, this was probably because the outside world represents danger. Nowadays, we can harness the power of that instinct to drag our minds from routine and to-do lists and bring it back into the present moment, focusing on your breath, your practice, and your surroundings.
3. Practicing outdoors can increase your balance.
Practicing outdoors requires you to focus more on your movement and balance. The outdoors inherently signifies that we have less control over the environment than in an indoor setting. For example, the wind might come up during eagle pose to knock you off your feet, or an insect could fly towards you.
It is also helpful when you can fix your eyes to a spot. Practicing Vikasa yoga near the ocean or other water bodies can increase your balance even more. Focusing on the waves is mobile and not as stable, giving you that extra ounce of focus.
4. Being in an exposed environment can increase self-confidence.
Being outdoors is rarely as private as being in an enclosed room with a gathering of other yogis. However, this is often a good thing. It supplies you with an environment that makes you feel more self-aware.
As long as your self-awareness doesn’t become negative or consuming, it will help you pay better attention to yourself and your physical capabilities. It requires you to return to your base and your core giving you more confidence in your own abilities while enjoying the fresh, outside air.
5. The outdoors instills us with more energy.
Science has shown through multiple studies that even viewing scenes of nature makes us feel more vital and less stressed. It naturally allows you to recover emotionally while contributing in many ways to your physical wellbeing.
When you combine the natural benefits with the benefits of yoga, it allows you to gain even more from your practice. In addition, you get to enjoy the great outdoors by filling yourself back up.
6. We get more Vitamin D.
There aren’t only mental and emotional benefits to being outside. There are also physical processes that are almost exclusively triggered by being outside. For example, the production of vitamin D gets triggered when UV rays make contact with your skin.
Vitamin D is nutrient your body requires to build and maintain your skeletal system. The reason it is so important is because our bodies can only absorb calcium when vitamin D is also present. It also regulates other cellular functions. If you have a vitamin D deficiency, it can cause symptoms of anxiety or depression.
7. Nature often boosts the benefits of meditation.
There have been numerous studies about meditation’s effect on stress levels and the brain. There have been quite a few studies done on how frequent meditation can decrease the size of your amygdala, or the portion of your brain that controls your fight and flight response.
Spending time outside has already been proven to lower the concentration of cortisol in your body, aka the stress hormone. Therefore, combining time spent amongst nature with the positive aspects of meditation will multiply the positive physical and mental benefits of meditation.