More New Year Resolutions - How Yoga and Nature Work in Harmony
Performing yoga with a Shakti Yoga Wheel® is a way of opening up your spine to increase your self-worth and self-power. It is a tool used to help you flourish like a lotus flower and flow confidently like a river. Yoga and the natural world are intensely and intrinsically linked by one thing: spirituality. They both offer stress relief and the chance to transcend every day struggles to find a place of inner calm, love, and wellbeing. Here is why you should incorporate nature into your yoga practice.
While humans have taken steps to build an artificial environment to suit our needs, we still have a longing for the natural world. This is why so much of meditation takes place with a background of animal noises, the splashing of the tide or gentle breezes. Scientists have sought to discover exactly what physiological effects are brought about by natural sounds. One of the main discoveries is that artificial sounds produce inward-looking states of the brain, while natural states create brain states with an external focus. This would suggest that such noises can contribute to feelings of openness, empathy, and compassion towards others.
They also measured a decrease in heart rate and suppression of a fight or flight response in the brain. Natural sounds can, therefore, help your yoga practice by helping you to relax fully and let go into a state of deep spiritual contemplation.
Another way nature can re-awaken your spirituality is by its sheer beauty. The world’s great religions from Judaism to Buddhism all originated in either deserts or mountain ranges, where people are able to connect deeply with something higher. Taking your yoga mat into such an environment can have an intense spiritual effect.
If you are unable to find time to actually get into the great outdoors, a photograph of nature could be enough to lower stress. Researchers found that merely looking at still images of nature can help put you in a relaxed state, conducive to yoga practice. This worked with plain, green images, but a photo of one of Arizona’s beautiful national parks might help to create heightened states of transcendence. The Grand Canyon is almost beyond comprehension in its magnificence, yet spending time observing it can help you to internalize a similar feeling of powerfulness and greatness.
If you get the opportunity, find a remote, rural spot to practice Shakti yoga. This will surround you with sights, smells, and sounds to create a powerful state of relaxation. When practicing at home or in a classroom, however, just using images or sounds of nature can help you to connect to a deeper spirituality.
Autor Jane Sandwood