Breathing Space in Nature

I just returned from a long weekend trip in Zion National Park. It was awe-inspiring to be surrounded by the red rock canyon, the giant mountains, and the river flowing through the center of it all. Each day we were delighted to be greeted by the multi-hued majesty of the soaring cliffs, the sound of the wind in the trees, and the changing light on the rock faces. We spent entire days outside in the elements, passing cheerful people on the trails; all sharing a moment of uplifted appreciation for the beauty around us, behind us and before us. Mysoul was dancing in recognition of a deeper, more tender world.

Mt. ZionThe re-entry into life after a time like this can be bumpy. However, I found that in returning to the yoga class at Wellness Within there was a familiar feeling of gratitude and tenderness. I feel inspired to be with people who understand the value of sharing a quiet breath and the beauty of simple movement. We all understand that when we slow down, it’s easier to be kind to yourself. How did the pace of life get so fast and why do we think we must keep up with it? It’s necessary to get out into Nature sometimes and be reminded that mountains, rocks, and rivers can endure far beyond our time here. They may change form, but there is great stability in the elements. This inspires the heart and mind, brings perspective, and soothes the innermost spirit. The deep beauty and logic of how things work together in nature can bring calm if we’re struggling with things that make no sense in our lives. We take time to breathe in the expansiveness of the sky and breathe it out again, letting go of our fears and worries. Nature is impassive and will accept our deepest feelings, allowing us a time of respite from our concerns and offering us a quiet moment in return. We can bring that feeling back and revisit it in yoga class once a week, or once a day. Yoga was created in the forests and out in Nature, so it’s natural to want to blend one with the other. There are poses named the mountain, the tree, the swan, the waterfall, and the crescent moon. All invoke our connection to the natural world and the elements of earth, air, water, and fire.

The next time you’re out in a beautiful setting, try a simple yoga breath or easy pose and see what it feels like under the canopy of sky and with your feet on the grass. Let your mind and body blend with this source of unconditional love and acceptance: our beautiful, natural world.

Susan Whitaker About Susan Whitaker

Susan is the owner of Canyon Spirit Yoga Center in Auburn, Ca. and primary yoga instructor at Wellness Within. She has Yoga teaching certifications from Kripalu Center and Integrative Yoga Therapy. Susan continues to teach and study in the areas of yoga therapy, creating individual practices, and yoga as a healing art.

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