Taking YOGA outdoors to connect with Nature

How to enjoy Yoga even more..

Taking Yoga Outdoors to Connect with Nature

Please join us/ Health / By Masie Barefoot-Judson

Mylast name happens to be Barefoot and it’s probably not too surprising,for those reading this article, that going barefoot to practice yogafelt very natural for me. Over time I began to understand the feeling Iremembered from childhood is what yogis call “grounding” or pulling inprana; really feeling the presence of the earth through the soles of myfeet, up to the palms of my hands, filling my cup and creating anabundance of prana within.

Have you ever felt the earthbeneath your feet – I mean really felt it? Have you taken your shoes offand felt the cold soil or spread your toes wide to really feel thesurface of your yoga mat? What I remember most about my childhood is thefreedom of going barefoot — of playing without shoes and exploringwide-open spaces with my hands and feet. Although I have grown up, thereis still a bit of this child in the way I practice yoga. My yoga matmay not physically be a wide-open space, but still… it gives me thechance to explore its textured surface on my skin with child-likedelight. “Connecting with your natural setting is grounding and playful, and with practice, often meditative.”

Perhapsyou too have felt this connection with the earth moving into yourpractice. In my teaching style, the seasons often play a vital role inthe sequences I use. On warm days, I may notice that my students seemmore limber, but often feel tired by the end of the day; and on coolerdays, I get requests to open the shoulders where we’ve cinched tensionaround the neck. And as we move through Spring, I create intenseinternal heat with long, slow movements, taking the time to linger andfind ease within the movement. Spring is often the perfect time to takeyour yoga outdoors to bask in the sun or enjoy a nice shaded spot. Orforget your mat altogether and leap into nature as your yoga mat. I’verested my back against boulders in tadasana, connecting with themountain. The options are endless – imagine yourself in bidalasana,alternating between cat and cow poses. Or you could rise into tree pose,while reaching out and resting your palm on a tree’s trunk. Connectingwith your natural setting is grounding and playful, and with practice,often meditative.

If you would rather practice meditationinstead of yoga outdoors, you can still practice outside and connectwith nature. You can sit at the base of a tree and use the canvas ofyour mind to grow upward like the tree. Feel your roots growing downinto the soil from the base of your spine. Expanding our consciousness,we dive deeper within our own connection to nature.

MayDay approaches, and with it, spring, marked by the ancient celebrationof Beltane. The season is a chance to invite abundance, growth andincrease into your life. I invite you to roll your mat outdoors this May1st, to explore your connection to Mother Earth and draw on the seasonsas you expand your yoga lifestyle. I invite you also to play like achild and have fun in the process.

Beginning your yoga practice or want to learn more? Check out 14 Tips for Beginning Your Yoga Practice (also great if you’re checking out yoga or want to reinvigorate a resting (ahem) practice.

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Written by Berit Lagdefoged, well versed writer at CAL.