Research from the field of eco-psychology is beginning to illuminate the many ways that time spent outdoors enhances health. Accordingly, paired with yoga’s power to build and sustain wellness, an asana or meditation practice spent outdoors may give you that added boost of vitality you need! In the following article we explore the health benefits of outdoor yoga.
Establishing an outdoor yoga practice can bring balance to your life, mediating your indoor, more controlled practice. This experience is not only of benefit to ourselves but also a means of appreciating and connecting with our planet.
Significantly, anecdotal, empirical and theoretical evidence suggests contact with nature positively impacts blood pressure, cholesterol, outlook on life, and stress levels, all essential factors in maintaining mental and cardiovascular health. Further studies show that being outside enhances attention and mood, lowers stress levels and helps individuals recover from stressful situations, illness, and injury faster.
Natural Views Outdoors Enhance Health
Natural views have been shown to invoke psychological responses of pleasure, sustained interest, relaxed wakefulness, and decreased negative emotions. Viewing long distance and appreciating the horizon instead of looking at close up objects, such as your computer screen supports vision health (Hansmann, Hug, Seeland, 2007).
Balance Enhancing Health Benefits of Outdoor Yoga
Further, even practicing yoga on uneven surfaces has its benefits. Standing poses on grass and sand build secondary muscles in the feet, hips, knees, spine, and shoulders. (Pirisi, 2009). Proprioceptive skills are also enhanced, helping yogis develop body awareness and safety in poses (Heileman, 2014).
Also, nature’s dynamic variety of sights, smells, sounds, and sensations (of our bare feet on the uneven surface or the touch of wind on the skin) stimulates the brain and boosts our cognitive function.
Outdoor breath work in fresh air has been shown to help one digest food more effectively, improve blood pressure and heart rate, as well as increase immunity, leading to a healthier you. Additionally, fresh air helps to dilate the lungs more fully and improve their natural cleansing actions, releasing airborne toxins from the body. (Terrapin Adventures, 2017).
Moreover, even just thinking about nature has been shown to relieve the brain of excess activation and calms the nervous system (Hansmann, Hug, & Seeland, 2007).
In any case, add the outdoors to your practice this month in celebration of Earth Day or jump into one of Soma Yoga Institute’s immersion programs in spectacular nature destination locations worldwide and let the health benefits of outdoor yoga bring a little bit of the upside of the outside into your life.
Join us for Yoga in Paradise
Want to join Soma Yoga Institute for a Yoga Teacher Training in paradise?
Thank you to our contributors:
Blog Article by: Aubree Kozie, Soma Yoga Institute Graduate.
Photo Model: Rhiannon Streight, Soma Yoga Institute graduate.
Photo taken by: Heather Fox, Soma Yoga Institute Graduate.
Shatzman, C. (2015). Get Outside, Boost Your Mood. Yoga Journal. Retrieved from: www.yogajournal.com/lifestyle/get-outside-enhance-mood
Pirisi, A. (2009). Back to Nature: Taking Yoga Outdoors. Yoga Journal. Retrieved from: www.yogajournal.com/teach/back-to-nature-taking-yoga-outdoors
Hansmann, R., Hug, S., & Seeland, K. (2007, November 15). Restoration and stress relief through physical activities in forests and parks. Retrieved December 12,2015, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1618866707000623
Heileman, J. (2014). The Benefits of Practicing Yoga Outdoors. Retrieved from: http://www.jeanneheileman.com/the-benefits-of-practicing-yoga-outdoors/
Terrapin Adventures. (2017). How outdoor exercise and fresh air impact health. Retrieved from: https://www.terrapinadventures.com/blog/exercise-fresh-air-health/