#47 Wheel-y natural – Adelaide’s 52 Yoga Project

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You know when it feels amazing, when you’re you’re in the flow……..oh yeah…….

This happens to me with outdoors yoga.

It pares down your practice, simplifies your thoughts and intensifies the experiences. Stronger smells, more variable light, temperature and stimuli. So many more distractions in some ways – and yet seems simpler to quieten and slow down your thoughts.

It is “only natural” to begin an outdoors class feeling frustrated by obstacles. This day at Womad (see picture) with the lovely “Unlock Your Body Yoga” it was really hot. Super-needing-shade-or-else hot. We couldn’t find our spot.  That’s why there’s a photo – my husband gave up on the class and took photos instead. It was pretty crowded. The ground was uneven, grating noises like garbage trucks could be heard nearby. Oh, I could go on and on and on.

Yet battling the elements can help remind you that you are well and truly “in the moment”. It’s like nature is calling you to be present.

Here are some benefits to yoga outdoors 

* Uneven surfaces can build the smaller, secondary muscles around the joints. (Be sure to not over-exert since uneven surfaces can trigger tension in unexpected places.) 

* Outdoor yoga delivers a sense of space and freedom, one step removed from comparative influences like neighbourly mats, mirrors and fancy yoga outfits. 

* Outdoors can be humbling, especially when everyone is experiencing the same challenges of insects, damp ground, temperature, dirt or sweat. It is easier to laugh, to abandon striving personas, etc.

* It can ease people’s ability to breathe (as long as your air is clean in your outdoors space – pranayama is fresher than when cooped up in one space.)

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If you’re looking for a space, find a secluded, relatively quiet spot with a decent amount of flat, open space and few passersby.

Spend time meditating on the 5 senses – the near and far noises, – the smells, pleasant and unpleasant, yours, the ground around you, – what you see, often birds or clouds pop into view right at a crucial moment post-sivasana, – your skin, your sense of touch, what is hot, cold, uneven, where your body touches the ground, the breeze and so on.

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This day, for me, I found grace in the beautiful urdhva dhanurasana (Upward Bow or Wheel) pose. I often throw myself into this asana, hold my breath, force my muscles into unhappy places popping upwards to arch. Instead my arms felt like massively strong concrete foundations while my torso and abdomen rose like I was being held and lifted sky-wards by an invisible life-force. It felt so beautiful.

It is well demonstrated that there is great power in the restorative benefits of nature. It helps us improve our ability for self-reflection. It is simpler in nature to apply Svadhyaya – the ethical practice of self-reflection and enquiry. That was for sure. This pose, and all the rest – felt great !

With stronger ability for reflection that accompanies an outdoors practice, often you can find your sweet edge more readily. Find the wheel-y natural you.

 

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