If you already practice yoga, you are probably aware of all the amazing benefits yoga has, but did you know that you could benefit even more by taking your practice outside? I share with you 10 benefits-
1. Salute the Sun
Sun salutations (=Surya Namaskaras) are an important part of yoga practice. When you practice outside not only you are able to salute the sun for real, but also feel the warmth of it on your skin. What could be better than actually reaching your arms up towards the sun, while practicing your Surya Namaskaras?
2. Breath in the new fresh life force energy=prana
The awareness of breath is also an important part of yoga. That’s why it makes perfect sense to breathe in the pure fresh air. It is completely different to breathe indoors than it is outside in nature. Fresh air is full of oxygen, and when you take your practice outside to nature (park or garden for example), where you can be surrounded by trees, you are able to breathe in the purest air possible. Fresh air makes it easier to breathe and the practice might be lifted into a whole new level.
3. Feel grounded
“Find your foundation” or “feel grounded” is probably something that your yoga teacher has said on a yoga class. When you are pressing your feet or hands against green grass outside in nature you really finally understand the meaning of the phrase and feel the connection to the earth. Being barefoot on the earth can relieve muscle tension, improve your sleep, increase energy and lower stress levels.
4. Lift your gaze up to the sky
Drishti is a Sanskrit term for sight or focused yogic gaze. It is a tool used in asana practice to bring you closer to dharana (=concentration) and pratyahara (=sense withdrawal). It definitely has its place in yoga practice, not to mention huge benefits, but sometimes it might be really nice to expand that gaze from the tip of your nose up to the sky or all the way to the horizon. By doing this, you might find a state of relaxation that you have never experienced before. So, enjoy the amazing beauty of nature and your surroundings.
5. Take your asanas back to nature
Vrksasana (=tree pose) or Garudasana (=eagle pose) might get a whole new meaning if you can actually see big sturdy green trees or if see an eagle flying above you, while practicing or while you are in that actual pose. All of a sudden, you might get the feeling that you are actually part of nature.
6. Challenge your balance Balance
Might sometimes be hard to find while practicing inside, but once you take your practice outside, you are really able to challenge yourself. And even though finding your balance might sometimes be really frustrating, keep in mind these great benefits: The uneven surface really builds the small muscles on your feet, knees, hips, and spine. If you are able to maintain your balance easily indoors, taking the practice outside adds an extra challenge to the poses. And this way, you might find the practice more rewarding, refreshing and even more fun.
7. Stress reliever
When you spend time outside in nature, you send a signal to your brains that your body is back in its native environment. Spending time outside reduces the levels of the stress hormone. This might lift up your mood immediately, or in general, make you feel calmer. Daylight boosts your energy even during a short practice. The unique and different sounds around you improve your listening skills and enable you to find the connection with your inner self. And even if you still can hear sounds of the city during your practice, this might be your opportunity to learn how to relax, even when the surroundings aren’t serene.
8. Be present
Nature awakens our senses. You are able to see long distance, see the natural colors, hear birds singing and feel the soft breeze on your skin. All these awaken your senses. And as a result, you can feel more present in your life each moment.
9. Stack the vitamin D levels
When the sun is out, take advantage of it and stack your vitamin D levels with an all-natural source of vitamin D. It is free, you know, go get it!
10. Feel the state of Bliss
You do know the amazing feeling after the yoga practice? I promise you it will be even more amazing after practicing outside. I mean, you have actually been saluting the sun, breathing the fresh air, pressing your bare feet onto the grass, gazing literally as far as eye can see, standing on your tree pose surrounded by trees, giving your balance extra challenge, relaxing in the nature, being really present and stacking up your vitamin D levels. There is no other possibility, but to feel absolutely amazing. You just entered into a state of ananda (=bliss)!