Nature and Yoga: The Top 3 Outdoor Activities That Directly Compliment Your Yoga Practice

June 11 | The Lifestyle |

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In our modern times, with phones, jobs at desks, constant computer and screen time, it is so imperative that we spend dedicated unplugged time outside – in nature. Your brain and your body are not constructed to spend so much time indoors, and our current health and mental state reflect this.

Nature is magical, we all have had that experience where Mother Nature can stop us in our tracks and make everything else melt away. Yoga is like that too- when we are in the zone on the mat, breathing and focused, the world melts away. When you combine both in your life- you are allowing your body and mind to have some much need quiet and space from the technological and mental noise that comes with our modern life

There are many ways to tie nature into your daily life- it could be through sport or just for the love of this earth. Your yoga practice in the studio can help bolster your outdoor activities and make you be more present and take in more of the world’s beauty. We all need to spend more time in the present moment, so bringing nature and yoga into your daily life will allow you to be more stable, patient and thoughtful.

The best part, is that if you are inspired out in nature to take a deep breath, move through a few poses- you can marry yoga and your time outside. It is always great to see what your practice is like on unfamiliar ground, because then when you come back onto your mat at the studio, your perspective on certain postures might shift.

Our time on the mat in class is also awesome training ground for any activity you may choose to do outside! My yoga practice dramatically changed so much for me in my other passions- surfing and snowboarding. The more time I spent on the mat in class, the more I began to see shifts and changes in my mental and physical abilities on snow and in the water. The physical strength that the practice gives you combined with the mental sharpness to stay present comes in really handy in nature.

Once I saw the connection on my board, I began to see it in many of the other ways I spend time outdoors. It has made me more aware of my sensory and physical time outside. And the practice and training on my mat has added so much to my other passions outside off the mat- I am stronger, more focused, more agile and quicker to react to the ever changing things that nature can present to me.

My Top 3 Favorite Outdoor Activities That Yoga Made Even More Fun (and Why)

Outdoor Activity: Snowboarding/Skiing

Strength, balance and endurance are the cornerstones of snowboarding and skiing – both in bounds and out of bounds. Once I started spending 3-4 days a week on the mat and consistently mediating, I was amazed how much it changed my physical game on snow and how meditation allowed me to stay present and focused in the backcountry.

Key poses that are a game changer are chair pose for your stance, all bent knee standing postures for strength building in your legs, and boat pose variations to strengthen your core.

Outdoor Activity: Surfing

Mindfulness and presence is the name of the game in the water because no wave is ever the same. You have to learn to go with the flow but also be really aware of what the water is (literally) throwing at you. Surfing requires the exact skill set of yoga. You need to be strong, yet flexibility, committed yet fluid. Using the skills you use on the mat in the water will change everything.

Key poses to perfect on the mat that will change your suring are- chaturanga ( for your pops ups), baby cobra for your paddling, and horse pose for your stance.

Outdoor Activity: Hiking

We all know that yoga engages and strengthens the whole body, and when you are out in nature, this plays a huge role in the varying terrain that hiking can present to us. The control of the breath is also a huge element in tackling and conquering hills. We can deepen our breath to help us get to the top, both physically and metaphorically. Hiking in turn helps our meditative practices on the mat, being in the quietness of nature is a natural way to turn down the chatter of the brain, so when we are back in class, we can tap back into that peacefulness when the mind gets chatty on the mat.

In a nutshell, being outdoors heightens and compliments our time on the yoga mat, and our time on the mat allows us to be more present mentally in nature and use the strength and flexibility that yoga gives us to go further in our time outside.