An article from freelance contributor Sally Keys
The Unique Benefits of Teaching Outdoor Yoga
If you are all packed for your journey into the heart of the enlightening Teacher Training Program at Passion School Yoga, then you probably already know of the powerful transformative effects of yoga. This practice is currently in use to battle PTSD, anxiety, depression and many more conditions, but ultimately, yoga is ideal for everyone. As a deeply spiritual practice that enables us to achieve desired equilibrium, it can help us feel stronger, happier, and and more peaceful yet energetic at once. When you return home from your course, you may wonder what the ideal setting is to teach the skills you have learned. If possible, take it to the Great Outdoors, to reap the unique benefits Mother Nature has to offer.
Why Outdoor Yoga?
While honing your skills in the midst of breathtakingly beautiful natural landscapes in Costa Rica or India, chances are, you felt more focused and balanced than ever. In part, this is because nature works in similar lines as yoga does, instilling a sense of mindfulness from the moment you step into the lush wilderness. Nature lowers levels of (stress hormone), as does yoga, and can also help battle anxiety and depression. Time spent outdoors also lifts the mood and enhances vitality; interestingly, studies have shown that outdoor exercise is generally more satisfying than the indoor variety. If you could choose between practicing yoga in a crowded gym with music blasting from the speakers, or a silent forest graced only with the sound of rustling leaves and birds in the trees, which do you think you would choose?
Nature Enhances Spirituality
From before the times of the ancient Aborigines and Native American Indians, humanity has been aware of the important link between nature and the spiritual world. Carl Jung espoused a fascinating theory about the bond between our psyche and Nature, He said that our psyche comprises various levels, including conscious awareness, unconscious awareness, and collective unconscious. The latter is the deepest level of our psyche; it is made up of images, emotions, behaviors and patterns that are common to all humankind. In order to delve into this level, he noted, we need to spend time in verdant areas, for they are the perfect settings in which our inner world can find fulfillment. Within the arms of Mother Nature, we witness perfection and keenly feel our need for greater spirituality.
Yoga in nature has many benefits that have been documented repeatedly in studies; these include the lowering of our blood pressure and heart rate, stress reduction, and cognitive improvements that enable our brain to work more efficiently. Outdoor yoga is equally powerful in its ability to connect us with a a part of ourselves we are often unaware of: our need to enter a more spiritual frame of mind, one that we have in common with every single human being.