Forest Yoga - Doing Yoga Outdoors in Nature

 

Forest Yoga 

 Doing Yoga Outdoors in Nature



Trees are living, breathing partners to humanity. Our inhale and exhale are in rhythm with each other and spending time in the forest, amidst the towering trees; is a wonderful way to reconnect to your own nature. 

Forest bathing, also called shinrin-yoku,  a practice that originated in Japan in the 1980's, is becoming more and more popular as a way to go back to our roots.  Reconnecting us to a time when we lived in the forests, spent more time in nature and were more in tune to the rhythm and cycles of life. 


How do you do yoga outdoors in nature? 

Taking your yoga mat into the garden or a park is a possiblity.  In the summers  teach yoga in my garden and a class for our local municipality in a local park.  I teach about taking time, exploring the body and especially the joints in order to rejuvenate and restore function and mobility. 

And if you feel a little more adventurous you could venture further into the woods and try your own practice there.  

Forest bathing is not about hiking fast, going big distances or getting to the top of a mountain.  And Forest Yoga is not about over-stretching, doing a long sequence with lots of poses. 

Forest Yoga is about slowing down to the rhythmn of your own body.  Notice what you find as you breath and explore. 

 You may find stiffness or tension, just allow it to be there. 

 You may discover a restriction in a joint.  By applying pressure, time and the breath to the joint and allowing the healing power of nature to assist you, you may discover that the restriction gently softens. 

 Over time many of my students find their restrictions disappear or shift in such a way that they have much more freedom in their joints. 


How can you do yoga in the forest? 


My suggestion is to find a friendly tree and put your legs up and relax.  Do choose an old tree.   Just as you wouldn't lean on a toddler to support you, don't lean on a sapling but find an old tree that you can tune into. 

When you understand the therapeutic technique of immersing oneself in nature. Forest bathing can be practiced in any position—sitting, standing, walking, or lying down— so any relaxing yoga position that you know.  

 Then place your focus on the sensory experiences of being in nature, both your own and that around you. Notice your breath and then be aware of everything else that is breathing around you (including the tree).  Knowing that you ARE nature.  Your body and breath are nature is where any sense of disconnection can start to fade away. 

We now know that there are many negative health effects that come from living a modern urban life, including air pollution, noise pollution, increased use of technology, and high levels of stress, anxiety and depression. 

In a study by Hansen, Jones, and Tocchini, who did a review of 64 studies on forest bathing and nature therapy research (2017)they discovered that forest bathing helps in alleviating loneliness, depression, and alienation from life.   These are  sadly all common expressions of the suffering that many people have in urban environments.     

Forest Yoga is easy to do, simply take your yoga mat or a blanket and go have an enjoyable, affordable form of nature therapy.   Not only will this improve the function of your  immune, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems; it can also be instrumental in decreasing symptoms of mood disorders, stress, anxiety and ADHD.  

And watch how effortlessly this can put you into a state of gratitude and selflessness.   

If you are interested in a Forest Yoga experience on Vancouver Island please contact me  

You can also download my free guide The Joint Renewal System(TM) here


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