Yoga offers unbeatable health perks. Did you know you could amplify the beneficial effects, like a chemist adding the right catalyst to a test tube? You can — and it’s free.
All you have to do is take your practice outside. Why? Consider these five reasons.
1. You'll Boost Your Mood More
Yoga is a phenomenal mood booster. However, you can magnify the effects by adding a bit of fresh air and sunshine.
Setting up your mat on you patio can serve as a useful depression therapy. Getting outside — if you can bear the temps where you live — may improve the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
However, please don’t feel deprived if you find yourself in a Colorado blizzard in January. Science suggests that even looking at pictures of nature can improve your mood. Why not get a poster made of your favorite outdoor vacation destination to hang in your yoga spot? You can also feel free to use the images on this site.
2. You Engage All Your Senses
There’s more to human perception than meets the eye. We also absorb stimuli from our environment through our other four senses, and time spent in nature bombards all of them with pleasurable input.
A review of the literature reveals that tactile nature experiences, like petting a dog or feeling the earth beneath your bare feet, leads to increases in relaxation and comfort. It even improves social functioning in otherwise asocial or autistic individuals.
The smells associated with nature also provide benefits. Aroma molecules impact human mood. As you inhale deeply, the fragrance of the local flora and fresh breeze delights your nostrils, making you smile.
3. You'll Improve Your Immune Response
Sweet scents aren’t the only things you’ll inhale when you take your practice outdoors. You’ll also breathe in a hefty dose of phytoncides, plant defense chemicals that give human immunity a beneficial boost.
Researchers studied folks who participated in the Japanese ritual of forest-bathing — spending a night outdoors in a wooded location. Their work revealed participants had an increased number and activity in natural killer cells — your body’s germ-busters.
4. You'll Produce the "Sunshine Vitamin"
Dr. Fauci would probably approve of you moving your practice outdoors. Why? Sun exposure helps your body produce natural vitamin D, which is, in reality, a hormone that plays a considerable role in human immunity.
Your immune cells have receptors for this substance, and a deficiency can lead to increased infections and an uptick in autoimmune disorders. Moving your practice outside could prove particularly useful for folks with autoimmune conditions, as supplementing with vitamin D reduces symptoms.
5. You Can Practice Earthing
The ground beneath your feet can also give your overall health a boost. Grounding or earthing refers to putting your naked soles in contact with Gaia to soak up a natural electric charge.
It might sound like new–age, Sedona mysticism, but science backs up the claim. One study found that earthing therapy reduced pain, stress, depression and fatigue. Another smaller trial showed a beneficial impact on cardiovascular health.
Reasons to Take Your Practice Outside
I adore practicing yoga outside. Since doing so, I have made significant gains in my practice, and I attribute it all to the catalyst–like impact of adding fresh air and sunshine.
You can reap the perks by rolling out your mat at the local park or your sunny back porch. Shameless plug — If you need a bit of inspiration, check out some of the videos on our channel. We add new content all the time, but we’re sometimes slow to get it to the site, so please hit the subscribe button — and the bell to get alerts when we release new videos.
Few things compare to the caress of sunlight on your skin while you work through your asanas. Moving your yoga practice outside is a fabulous idea for all of the above reasons.