Our world is once again opening up and this summer is like no other in our modern history. As a species we spend a staggering 90% of our waking time indoors and this has been markedly higher over the last 12 months due to the global pandemic.
As summer begins to take charge from what for most feels like an endless winter, take this opportunity to renew your love affair with the outdoors. The importance of this primal simple act is often downplayed in our society as we trade screen time for nature. So we thought it about time to put down a few reasons why humans as the animals we are, belong outside and what the inherent benefits are.
Reconnect with the Earth
No matter what side of the fence you sit on when talking about “energies” the impact of the energies that surround us indoors have a negative effect on our well-being. Our homes, offices, stores and cars are all charging stations surrounding us with positive ions. A build up of positive ions in our body can impair brain function and suppress the immune system causing symptoms such as: anxiety, fatigue, headaches, irritability, lack of energy and poor concentration.
Going out into nature helps to dissipate these ions and recharge us with negative ions that are commonly occurring in our real natural habitat outside.
To recharge yourself it's easy.
- Start your practise outside and step off the mat on to the earth, into real grass. Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).
- Bring your focus to your feet ground yourself and focus on creating that firm secure base allowing that energy to grow through your body to the top of your head.
- Close down your eyes open your palms out to the world and embrace this full all powerful posture.
- Notice after just a few minutes in this pose how clear and strong your mind and body feel.
Calm your mind
Today we consume 350% more information daily than just 30 years ago. A staggering 5 hours of this is screen time and 100,000 words. To put those words in contexts Tolstoys book “War and Peace” is only 450,000 words, did you realise you could actually read that in less than a week?!! Stepping outside is a perfect way to shut off this information flow and calm your mind. 550h UK Yoga teacher Bethany Rose suggest staking a moment to focus on nothing but nature.
1. Find a comfortable seat
2. Take a few deep breaths of the fresh air
3. Soften your forehead, let go of the space between your brows, let your eyes become heavy in their sockets, relax your temples and cheeks. Part your teeth slightly and relax your jaw.
4. Notice how this refreshes the mind and instantly helps you to soften and relax.
Embrace the expanse of the outdoors
With all our time indoors our emotions of anxiety and stress often build up stopping us from completing the most simple of tasks. Taking your mat outside with a great expanses of space is a brilliant way to release the feeling of confinement inside. We evolved as a mobile outdoor species that when stationary would be in direct contact with the earth. One of Beths favourite poses to remind her of this and release herself of feeling anxious is to let her mind and body to be supported by the earth in Balasana (childs pose). Surrender into this pose, listen to the sounds around you, be at one with nature and let the mind quieten. With each exhale allow yourself to soften a little deeper.
1. Come to all fours, bring the big toes to touch.
2. Take the knees wide, send hips to heels.
3. Rest the forehead down to the mat, and reach the arms forward.
4. Close your eyes and relax into the pose.
Worship the sun
The health media has been lit up by talks of the benefits of Vitamin D the last year and how our time inside has crippled immune systems globally as we spend even less time outside in sunlight. The light that we get from the sun not only helps our body produce this much needed vital Vitamin but also helps to keep our circadian rhythm in check. Our eyes are the most talked about sensory organ for detecting light but our skin also detects the present of light, and is the largest contributing factor to Vitamin D production. Try to expose your skin to direct sunlight (for short safe amounts of time) to get the full benefits of the time in the sun. The best time to do this is right after you wake, the first few hours of being awake are key to setting our circadian rhythm for the day. I love to remind myself of how important the sun is to us when I practice outside by running through 3 to 5 full sun salutations. The rhythmic flow of my breath with this salutation always help to remind me to centre as much of my life outside as I can.
What equipment to use outside
To make taking your practice outside as easy as possible we recommend using Manduka Travel Mats. Their lightweight and portability make it ideal for taking place to place.
PRO Travel: a 2.5mm foldable mat. Highly durable. Built with a hygienic closed-cell surface making it very easy to maintain and clean from outdoor dirt.
eKO Superlite: a 1.5mm foldable mat. The lightest mat from our range (1kg). Made from biodegradable natural tree rubber, it offers a semi sticky grip and can be fold to fit in any bags.
Placing an eQua yoga towel on your mat will provide extra GRIP when your hands or feet start to release heat and moisture and will absorb excess moisture aka SWEAT, from collecting on top of your mat.
Pair your set with one of our carry straps making it effortless, throwing your mat of your shoulder and on to your next adventure.
A bit more about Bethany Rose Yoga
Born in Cornwall, currently in Devon and on the move to The Netherlands next year, Beth believes movement is medicine and loves to bring health, wellness and joy to others. You can practice with Beth online at www.bethanyroseyoga.co
Photo credits: Bethany Rose Yoga