Published on July 29th, 2013 | by Guest Contributor0
5 Eco-Healthy Reasons To Practice Yoga Outside
Green Living Ideas is happy to feature Alexis from The Art of Sacred Body as a guest writer today! Alexis is a mama, permaculturalist, gentle living activist, aspiring midwife, freelance writer and health blogger. The Art of Sacred Body is a practical blog for health and wellness, supporting women and families to full and radiant health. Check out her site for a transformational look at your own body and subscribe for a free upcoming e-book on “How To Become Smarter and Healthier (In Half The Time).” You can find Alexis on Facebook and Twitter too.
Yoga has many benefits like reducing arthritis, increasing blood flow and eliminating anxiety and nervous tension. But did you ever think that your yoga practice could become even more beneficial at the same time as becoming environmentally friendly? This is what I mean when I say ‘Eco-Healthy–’ an action that supports your personal health at the same time as supporting the health of the environment.
All you have to do is take your yoga practice outdoors and into the fresh air and sunshine. I admit, the first time that I took my practice outside, I was a little worried what the neighbors might think. But then I realized if the neighbors see me balancing and stretching on my lawn, perhaps they will be inspired to join me! Aside from being an inspirational role model to any passerby’s, here are five reasons to practice yoga outside:
1. Save Energy and Money
The more time spent inside equals greater amounts of non-renewable energy being used to provide light and air conditioning (or heating for hot yoga). This is a drain on your wallet, and a drain on the environment. By being outdoors with Nature, you are restoring a natural human habit as well as eliminating the extra costs and burdens of a primarily indoor lifestyle.
2. Get Grounded!
The Earth is an electrical current and our water-full bodies are prime conductors of that energy. A study of the effects of placing bare-feet on the earth (PDF) (especially wet dirt, sand or soil) concluded that, “when one grounds to the electron-enriched earth, an improved balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system occurs.”
3. Improve Mental Health
According to research by the University of Essex, being active outdoors can, “improve psychological wellbeing by enhancing mood and self-esteem, while reducing feelings of anger, confusion, depression and tension.” The same study surveyed 100 individuals on a walk. Half of the study-participants walked outside, while the other half stayed indoors. When asked how they felt by the surveyors, 90% of the outdoor walkers reported an increase in self-esteem compared to only 17% of the indoor group.
4. Absorb Vitamin D
Instead of taking supplements that require non-renewable energy to create plastic bottles and gelatin capsules, get your Vitamin D for free! By practicing yoga outside for even just fifteen minutes, you can increase this valuable vitamin ten-fold. Research indicates that many westerners are lacking in this essential Vitamin due to a primarily indoor lifestyle. By increasing your time in the sun, you can protect yourself, “against a host of diseases, including osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon.”
5. Find Deeper Peace
Many practitioners of Yoga agree that yoga practice is meant to take place outdoors. This is where we connect with Nature and our actions are magnified by the energetic pulses of our environment. “Practicing yoga outside is a crucial reminder that all of life is Yoga, and that I play an important part in the web that connects all of life,” writes Yoga teacher, Shaina Krieger, “ Everything I do affects everything else around me. An asana practice is amplified when practiced in Nature because we are reminded we are Nature.” When we are outside, we gain greater access to the peace that lives inherently in our natural surroundings.
Whether your practice is fifteen minutes or two hours, you can easily find environmentally friendly solace in the great outdoors. Your body and mind will thank you for it, and the Earth will feel a little more relief as more of her inhabitants bask in her glorious nature.
Images from Vibrant Wellness Journal featuring the beautiful yogi Leslie Schipper.