Consider your dream yoga practice: is it in your local studio, in the middle of a busy city lit with artificial light? Or is it on a quiet beach, with the sand under your skin and the breeze in your hair? For most, answering this question is easy. The typical yoga studio is set within four solid walls. If you are lucky enough to have windows, they often look out onto a concrete jungle. The temperature is often set for comfort, being able to switch between heat and air conditioning with the click of a button.
When your yoga studio is the great outdoors, you learn to embrace the ebb and flow of the environment around you. Instead of being confined to a small room, you have the opportunity to practice yoga anywhere you desire. If one particular spot becomes too monotonous, simply move to another! You can practice alone or with friends, on sunny or overcast days, in a forest or on the shore.
Practicing yoga by the sea adds a whole new dimension to your daily practice. The ocean breeze cools your body, the sound of the waves soothes your mind, and the beautiful landscape boosts your mood . Of course, this isn’t the case if you head to a crowded beach on a summer afternoon. To really benefit from yoga by the sea, you should choose a location that is far from the crowds. Even on the most crowded beaches, early mornings can be a calm respite.
Practicing Yoga by the Sea Makes You More Adaptable
When you choose to do yoga in the comfort of your home, you are able to completely control the environment around you. If your housemates are too loud, you can close a door. When the temperature is too hot or too cold, you can easily adjust this. If your mind is too busy, you may put on some calming music. Every factor can be tweaked to your liking.
When you choose to practice yoga by the sea, you have no control over your surroundings. By learning to practice yoga in a constantly shifting environment, you can strengthen your practice. It can be easy to get into the zone when you have perfectly tailored every aspect of your practice. By practicing outdoors, you become more adaptable and learn to focus anywhere.
Being in Nature Improves Mood and Boosts Mental Clarity
Many studies have been conducted on the benefits of spending time in nature. They all boil down to the same general findings: more time spent in nature is associated with less stress and anxiety. A 2015 study found that those who spent 90 minutes in a natural setting had lower activity in the brain’s prefrontal cortex—the area of the brain associated with rumination. Spending time in nature has also been found to lower cortisol and blood pressure levels, improve concentration, and boost creativity. 1
Meditation and yoga on their own are known to help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. When meditation is combined with a yoga practice in a natural setting, you truly can relax your mind and prepare yourself for the busy day ahead.
Practicing Yoga Outdoors Allows You to Reconnect with Nature
If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you know that teachers often tell you to reach up towards the sky or place your hands on the ground. In most cases, the “sky” is the ceiling of the yoga studio, while the “ground” is the floor. When you practice yoga by the sea, you truly are reaching towards the sky. As you place your hands on the ground, you are feeling the sand between your fingers.
When you leave the walls of a studio, all of your senses begin to wake up. You see all of the changing landscapes around you, you feel the sun and wind on your skin, you hear the birds chirping, and you smell the scent of the sea. Having to process so many different stimuli can help your brain focus more on the natural environment and less on your to-do-list.
Practicing yoga by the sea seems like a distant dream to many people. Most individuals don’t live a stone’s throw away from a beach, let alone have the free time to make it there every single day. When you do have the time, it is worth the extra effort to make it happen. On days where you simply can’t leave the city, try to bring nature into your home. A couple of fresh plants and essential oils can help recreate the peaceful aspect of the sea.
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