There’s a strong connection between yoga and nature: being outside in nature helps us to be more present and aware, which goes hand in hand with yoga. Why not combine the two and practice yoga outside with your family? Knowing how to enjoy nature and practice yoga outdoors will help your body and mind and will help to combat those hours spent indoors at work or, in your child’s case, school.
Try the following ideas for incorporating nature into your yoga routine:
Start with a walk
The problem with popular outdoor areas is that, while popular for a reason, they’re not usually the best place for solitude or quiet. This won’t be a problem for some people, but others may find it difficult to focus with a lot of external noise, and it might be difficult for your children to concentrate. If you’re comfortable with being by yourself in a secluded area, why not pick somewhere off the beaten track to practice yoga? Depending on where you live, you might be able to find somewhere quiet in the countryside, on the beach, or even in the woods. Meditation apps and guides often replicate the sounds of nature, as they can induce a calm and relaxing mood, but you and your family will be out there getting the real thing! You might also like to incorporate mindful walking into your routine before you find your spot to practice yoga. There are plenty of resources to help you get started, but mindful walking essentially involves thinking about how you’re walking while you’re doing it, breathing properly, and becoming aware of your surroundings – all of which go hand in hand with yoga, of course. Mindful walking can be a fun family activity, as you can experience and talk about your surroundings together.
Find a group
If you’re feeling a little shy about taking your routine outdoors, why not look for a child-friendly class or group to join – or even create your own? Yoga can be extra enjoyable if you’ve got others around you to serve as inspiration or to talk to afterwards, and you will feel less self-conscious if you’re not the only one venturing outside of your comfort zone. If you live in a big city you might be able to find a pre-existing group; if not, gather up your yoga-loving friends and their kids and have your own session of yoga in the park!
Use your own space
If you don’t have the time or inclination to venture further afield, look no further than your own backyard. Although it might feel strange at first to use your garden as a place to exercise, particularly if your neighbors can see you, you’ll soon feel the benefits of practicing your usual routine outside. Practicing yoga on grass can help you to feel grounded, and grass is relatively comfortable for sitting on, yoga mat or not. Additionally, it’ll mean you don’t have to travel with children, which is a sure to be a point in its favor.
If it’s raining outside or you just can’t bring yourself to venture outside for whatever reason, why not think about bringing the feeling of the outdoors to you? If you have the space, think about creating a designated yoga room and furnishing it with plants – keeping indoor plants has been shown to have several positive effects on humans and having a special space just to practice yoga might help your motivation. Whether you have a spare space just for yoga or not, keeping indoor plants in your home can enhance your sense of well-being and connectedness. Teaching kids from an early age about the importance of nature will help to foster an appreciation for the outdoors that will, with any luck, last a lifetime.
To ensure your children enjoy yoga as much as you do, practice in front of them. Children love to imitate their parents, and it’ll stimulate their interest to see you doing something new. Start slow and invite them to join you from time to time, then once they’re interested, encourage them and allow them to pick their favorite routines and poses when you head outdoors together. You can also turn yoga into a bit of a game – it might be worth rewarding them from time to time if they do particularly well (especially if they behave during a class), and it’s less likely they’ll lose interest if it feels like play to them.
Everybody needs a bit of sunshine – as well as your daily dose of Vitamin D, sunshine can also improve your mood and help facilitate important skin functions. Even on a cold winter’s day, the sun often makes an appearance – although it might not feel very warm – so why not venture outdoors for your family’s next yoga session, whatever the season? Your skin, body, mind, and soul will thank you – and your kids will love the chance to spend time outdoors.
Sofia Lockett is a freelance writer based in the beautiful city of Auckland, New Zealand. She believes that fitness is a good investment for excellent health. Kids physical fitness is not only important for a healthy body, but it’s also essential for the promotion of intellectual and creative activity You can read more of her articles on her Tumblr.