Summer is here. Hurray! At last we see longer spells of warmer weather and sunshine. Whether it’s a barbecue with friends, chilling out in the park or engaging in your favourite activity, everything feels so much better outdoors in the fresh air; and now is the time to get as much of it as we can!
Taking your practice outdoors can be just what you need to invigorate your experience and add a different dimension to it. Be it in your patio, garden or a nearby park - Yoga, Pilates and Mindfulness lend themselves perfectly to outdoor practice.
Here are four benefits of practicing outdoors that you might have not considered yet:
Physical benefits - Uneven, natural surfaces can modify and even intensify your practice. Practicing on uneven surface builds up the muscles of the feet, hips, knees, spine, and shoulders. Slight variance in natural terrain can focus balance more than a flat floor.
Increased vitality - Spending time outside sends signals to the brain that the body is back in its native environment and recalibrates itself to stay alert. Couple that with the fact that fresh air heightens breath awareness and you’ll immediately see why when people spend time outdoors, feelings of vigour and vitality are increased.
Relaxation and internal focus - Being in nature inspires us to focus awareness and being in the moment. A Swedish study found that viewing nature, especially fractals (the organically occurring patterns in tree branches and fern leaves for example), increased wakeful relaxation and internal focus.
Building confidence - it is easy to feel self-conscious when you’re used to practicing in a set environment. While familiarity brings a sense of security, stepping outside your comfort zone opens the possibility of finding your “edge” and pushing your boundaries. Acknowledging ‘jealous’ by passers (or inviting them to join you…) would be just an added bonus :)
Here is to a great summer!