So it’s March, and from where I sit in Western Canada, things are starting to look a lot warmer—and a lot greener than they were a month ago.
From now until about November, I will be starting to bring my meditation and yoga practices out into the forest.
I will be sitting by rivers, hanging out in my back yard or by the ocean and enjoying the incredible power that nature can add to my mindful practices.
Honestly, I wait all winter for the time when I feel comfortable enough to hang out in the fresh air for more than 10 minutes without complaining about how cold my nose is.
I’m a wimp when it comes to the cold. I really am. But for all those winter months—all those months staying inside with two pairs of socks and a pair of slippers, I yearn to have my feet buried in the grass with my heart reaching for the sky.
I live to be close to nature.
After all, even Buddha received his enlightenment while outside underneath a tree.
So here are a few of the many, many, many benefits I have discovered from taking my practice outside:
1. Fresh air.
This one is pretty obvious, but fresh air does our bodies a lot of good. We spend so much time during the day inside of buildings with very little fresh air coming in. The smells of nature and feeling of the gentle (or not so gentle) wind can do wonders for waking us up to the sensations in our bodies.
2. Matching the rhythm of your body to that of the earth.
When you set your feet or your bum on the ground, your body naturally begins to attune to the natural healing vibrations of mother earth, allowing your body to relax more deeply in a way that allows for deeper healing.
3. Balancing the negative ions in your body through earthing.
This is another direct benefit of directly connecting to the ground. When you connect to the ground beneath you, you connect to unlimited numbers of negative ions in the earth. These ions flow into your body and help you decrease inflammation, as well as blood pressure. The benefits of earthing are well-known and highly supported, a quick search can reveal many other benefits.
4. Letting the sounds of nature be your background music.
Many of us spend a large amount of time creating playlists that fit appropriately with our yoga practices, or looking for calming music to add to our meditations in order to drown out the sounds of civilization. When you’re outside, you don’t need any of that! This means that you are saving electricity, saving your ears and the rest of your body from the interference that electrical devices cause and you get to hear the amazing sounds of the animals around you. Listening to nature creates a deeper connection and understanding of the world you live in.
5. You won’t need to try to ground or center yourself. It will happen naturally.
Often in a yoga class or during meditation, one of the first steps is to consciously ground ourselves into the present moment and into the earth that is beneath us somewhere. When we are outside, this grounding and centering process just seems to happen naturally. We are already grounded into the earth when we are outside. Everything around us is celebrating existence and so we are naturally pulled into the present moment.
6. Your sense of calm will deepen.
That state of calm that we all search for during our meditation comes so much easier when we are in nature, rooting down and connecting directly to the creative powers of the universe. The natural rhythm of the natural world takes us with it, and subsequently it takes us back to ourselves.
I am incredibly blessed to live in a place that is surrounded by magical forests, incredible rivers and close to the constant ebb and flow of the ocean. I also know that in the city it is a lot harder to find these natural spaces– but you don’t need much.
All you need is a patch of grass and maybe a tree to sit under. That is all. Nothing more.
Try it out and experience how the earth changes your practice.
Author: Taryn Scammell
Apprentice Editor: Jami C. Wallace / Editor: Sara Kärpänen