Outdoor yoga for your lunch break
With the practice of yoga and meditation, we don’t always get the feeling of relaxation right away. Sometimes it takes a bit of coaxing of the body and mind to feel the effects of yoga, especially when we are stuck in a room with some 20 (or more) students.
All the subtleties of your surroundings can help you tap into various elements with in your body. If you find yourself unable to focus indoors, especially during the summer months, take your yoga outside! A healthy dose of nature has been known to improve mood, ease anxiety, stress and depression as well as have overall regenerative powers.
When we move our physical activities outdoors we can connect with nature and allow the greenery around us to help us tap into our breath and help us feel more connected. Believe it or not, Eco-therapy is a real thing!
Nature gives us the feeling of expansion and openness, just a few of the benefits also in yoga. Why not combine the two and create an even greater feeling of space in our bodies and minds. Nature can heal and improve your mood, even on the gloomiest of days.
In a busy world, sometimes it’s difficult to find time for a 60-minute guided yoga class so taking a few minutes in a park or walk through a garden can be enough to bring your breath back to a more relaxed state. You don’t need much with you, not even a yoga mat. Find a park bench or a water fountain and enjoy a few moments to yourself. You never know, you may even inspire a few jealous onlookers who will give yoga a try themselves on their next walk in the park!
There are many ways you can incorporate yoga into your lunchtime walk through the park, or even during your morning stroll to the office.
- Find a quiet spot to sit and just breathe. Even busy cities have places with trees or grass. Oxygen in the air and the sounds of nature can be calming and bring you back to a more grounded state. Explore all of your five senses and take time to tap into each one. Listen for birds, sounds of children or leaves blowing in the breeze. Feel the air on your skin and the sun on your face. Hold onto a flower, really see its colour, feel the texture and notice if the scents around you create a certain taste on your tongue.
- An easy seated twist is a discrete pose you can do without drawing any attention. Gentle twists will work out any kinks and static energy that has been building up over your day. Twists help to open the chest, shoulders and back and release stored tension in the body. Find a seat or wall, where you can put both feet on the ground. Shoulders stay away from your ears. Combine your twist with your breath: lift on the inhale and twist on the exhale. You can also sit on the floor with your legs out in front (like Kelly in the photo).
- Balancing poses are perfect in nature. Try a standing tree pose. Connect with the earth beneath your feet and notice any unevenness in the grass or ground. Maybe practice blowing in the breeze right along with the rest of the trees. Our yoga poses don’t necessarily need to be stiff and static, we can shift and move with our surroundings. You could use your imagination as well and tap into creativity by visualizing the earth and the layers of earth and rock beneath the grass. Allow your senses to soften and let the pose take you further into your surroundings.
- Meditation is perfect for adding a little more yoga into your walk in the park. Try tuning out the sounds around you and bring your attention to your breath. Observe the natural world and notice any feelings of happiness being in nature brings you. Whatever arises in the mind allow to arise, simply notice and then bring your attention back to your breath. Notice your reaction to all of your observations.
Being in nature with yoga will help to nourish our soul and ground us in the present moment. It diminishes disturbances in the mind and softens the body. Listening to not only the body but also the earth is a way for us to communicate with nature and bring more calm into our lives, better enabling us to direct our layers of stress and tension. We may also grow a greater appreciation for nature and inspire others along the way.
Here at La Crisalida we practice outside when possible, with views of the mountains and sea glistening in the distance. The birds and insects are singing and humming, and the smell of the sea and flowers are in the air. For more information about our yoga retreats please click here.
About the author
- Talented yoga and meditation teacher, loves bringing movement and fluidity into yoga