As a child, I remember fondly taking a school trip to the heights of the English country side, walking the trails of Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales and being told to breathe in the “fresh air.” I recall how the word “fresh” somewhat confused me due to the lingering smell of manure which seemed to follow our every step.
Now years on as a yoga teacher, there is nothing more I appreciate than being amongst nature and using the benefits of the great outdoors to enhance my practice. The basis of yoga is about our foundation, so it makes sense that in order to feel grounded we begin outside where we can connect with the earth. In doing this we start to tune in with our senses with the ground literally underfoot, the consistent fresh flow of air re-oxygenates our cells and with every movement we begin to re-energise and still our minds, leaving the home and office life aside. It is thought that if we stay in doors for long periods of time that it is the perfect breeding ground for germs and viruses to spread, so getting out with nature is a definite and beneficial mood enhancer.
Yoga is known to ease tension and stress levels, in a natural setting it will make you feel calmer. Focusing on the eb and flow of the breath makes it easier to follow sequences and hold positions. Having space to move freely in the outdoors will allow you to witness your inner state of well-being and observe your surroundings – our sight, smell and touch is all heightened when we are at one with nature.
There is nothing better than aligning yourself opposite a tree when practicing “tree pose” and finding a central point to steady your concentration. The sound of water gives an added therapeutic essence to your practice, hearing the waves of the sea is almost in line with the rhythm of the breath. I have been fortunate to participate in yoga classes with views of rice fields in Bali and on some of the best beaches in Australia, but providing I can connect with the source of where I choose to lay my mat anywhere can be equally as liberating and suitable. Living in the UK with so much history and culture it is always fun to think of new locations to visit. I have taken classes in the ruins of a medieval castle grounds on a balmy English summer evening whilst another time finding myself chasing rainbows between “sun salutations” amidst a light drizzle of rain with stunning views of the rolling “Surrey Hills” as my back drop. The point being there are no limits, there are no boundaries, get your friends and family together and see for yourself how exercising in the “great outdoors” might be the perfect antidote and way to spend your time.
Elizabeth Petrie formerly was a performer in the arts and entertainment sector and after much time working in an assortment of roles she felt a need to travel and explore her options overseas. Six years on she has returned to the UK with a wealth of experience, her yoga journey began whilst living in Sydney, Australia. As a keen outdoor runner she was plagued with intermittent sciatica, which limited the type of exercise she could participate in regularly. During this time she discovered that yoga was often the cure both mentally and physically where she could regain strength and time out to switch off from everyday life and relax at the same time. She is a fully qualified instructor and has an accredited teaching certification through the governing body, Yoga Alliance. In addition she is qualified in post, pre-natal, children & teen yoga. You can find her on Facebook or contact her via email.