by guest author Yogitaratna Chaitanya
By getting out of the studio and into nature, you can experience yoga as it was originally intended.
Being outdoors gives you access to a whole other world of sensations and helps you feel a part of a boundless existence.
The pure unpredictability of being outside and exposed to the elements can strengthen an existing practice or inspire a new one. – Sutra Mid-town Yoga-Arizona
Already well established in other countries around the world (mainly in the United States), Yoga in the Park is an activity that many individuals and yoga studios have begun as a way of making yoga more accessible.
It makes yoga more accessible to those people who perhaps can’t afford to pay $18 for a class or are intimidated by a yoga studio atmosphere, feel embarrassed to participate in a class or feel they are not flexible or fit enough and so miss out on experiencing a myriad of benefits a yoga practice can have on their bodies and minds.
It is a way of bringing yoga out of the studio and into the community, and a great way of developing a community spirit, connecting with locals and sharing and experiencing the joys and benefits of yoga with other like-minded people in a more informal environment.
It’s a way of sharing a healing practice and taking it out into nature, into the summer sun and to be in contact with the elements and the great outdoors, exactly how yoga was originally taught.
During the summer months the warm weather encourages us to go outside and enjoy the fresh air and atmosphere, and especially on the weekends when we tend to have more free time, we can afford to dedicate more of it to move away from the hectic pace of urban city living and find a space of desperately needed inner peace and relaxation surrounded by trees, grass and open spaces that the Yoga in the Park classes can induce.
It provides the unique opportunity to roll out your mat, enjoy the fresh air, the smell of fresh grass and the warmth of the sun on your skin, to be at one with nature and at one with our breath and our selves.
It’s also a great way to introduce friends, partners or family to yoga if they have never tried it before, to learn how to breathe, stretch and to just have fun.
The Christmas and New Year holidays are just around the corner and normally take their toll on us all, so Yoga in the Park is great way to unwind from the stresses of shopping, over eating, over drinking and too many office parties and helps to prepare the body physically and mentally to cope better with the jolly season. It’s a great time to de-stress, breathe, stretch, strengthen, loosen and relax. Classes are open to anyone of any age or skill level, from moms with their toddlers, to couples and loyal yoga practitioners.
The benefits of yoga are increased when practiced outside, and the places for practice are endless and create a deeper connection with the Earth.
Some of the benefits of practicing outdoors can be:
- It connects one directly to the energy of the Earth.
- Slight differences in natural terrain focuses balance more than a flat floor.
- Being in nature can put personal problems in perspective.
- The vitamin D in sunshine raises serotonin levels, increasing happiness.
- Deep breathing sequences are more fulfilling in natural flowing air.
So knowing that you could be giving your body and mind a mini vacation, detox and de-stress, its nice to know that somewhere in Auckland you can find those peaceful and tranquil moments among the trees, sounds of birds and nature. And if you’re not in Auckland, go outside for your personal practice or ask your local studio to schedule some outdoor classes.
What: Yoga in the park
Where: Grey Lynn Park, Auckland (Grosvenor Street entrance, off Williamson Ave)
When: Every Saturday morning at 10am until the end of March, (except the 25th December and 1st January). Cancelled if wet.
What to Bring: Comfortable cotton clothes and a yoga mat or towel.
How Much: This is a donation-based activity with all proceeds going to charity.
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