Posted on 24 November 2011.
By: Emily Sprakel
Many yoga asana (pose) names and characteristics are derived from nature like the mountain pose, the tree pose, the half-moon pose, the sun salutation and many more.
If you ever find yourself outdoors in nature and have at least fifteen minutes to spare, try to do several asanas that can help you connect even more with nature, benefit from it, and learn from the universe. Can my root be as strong as that of an old tree yet my body supple like the palm branch? Can I control the fluctuation of my mind and let it be as calm as the surface of a lake at dawn? Can I hold an asana as firm as a rock on the shore despite strong waves breaking in?
For people who already have some experience with yoga, fusing your yoga practice with nature can be a gratifying experience. And for newcomers, outdoor practicing can be an enjoyable and a less strenuous exercise.
Start with standing tadhasana (or mountain pose) with feet rooted firmly to the ground and legs completely stretched up to the hips, and connect the pose with a mountain that stands tall and never sways. With one leg still completely stretched up take the other leg and bend it by the knee placing the bottom of the foot on the inner thigh of the standing leg and move into the vrikshasana (the tree pose) stretching both arms above your head with palms pressed against each other. Imagine how strongly your foot can root into the ground, your trunk standing firm like that of a tree, your arms stretched out and up like the branches of a tree as you inhale clean oxygen from the output of the leaves from a tree. Do three to five rounds of the sun salutation poses, the standing poses, then stretch and release the muscles in the forward bends. End the session by taking a few minutes laying down or sitting simple cross legged with eyes closed, quieting the mind, releasing the stretches and relaxing the body.
While performing the yoga asanas outdoors, put consciousness in your breath and the breath-taking generating prana, which means energy. “Prana and consciousness are in constant contact with each other. As long as the breath is still, prana is still, and hence the mind is still. All types of vibrations and fluctuations come to a standstill when prana and consciousness are quiet, steady and silent”. The Tree of Yoga by B.K.S Iyengar.
Let the breeze and sunshine and the sound of nature in your outdoor surroundings help you achieve an energised physique and a calm state of mind through the yoga poses and the breathing exercises. And perhaps you will find some enlightenment when you go back to your daily activities.