|Open Yoga Journal
When we spend our time in nature, we feel much better than in the big cities. That is why, even intuitively, we strive to spend our free time more often in parks, summer cottages, villages, hiking, etc. This is especially important during the warm season. If we spend most of the time in cities where we work and have our social life, then we turn to nature to relax and restore. This type of recreation makes us appreciate nature even more, especially considering the environmental pollution our civilization faces. Many people are moving out to live closer to natural conditions. Let’s see what Yoga tells us about whether it’s worth to move en masse to the countryside to achieve better results in self-exploration.
Self-exploration happens regardless of our location
Yoga is a system of exploring oneself and the Universe. The ultimate goal of Yoga is Enlightenment, which can be achieved at any point in space and time. We can realize the highest true and achieve success in self-exploration everywhere and any time. However, at the beginning of the path, when we still identify ourselves with our body and mind, the yogic transformation is easier and even faster in more favorable settings.
The correlation between yoga and the environment
The degree of our awareness will depend on the state of our gross physical body and the processes running at a deeper level. It should be noted that, we are closely interconnected with the environment, because our body is an integral part of nature. Living in a natural setup is most favorable for a harmonious process of self-exploration.
The main benefits of practicing outdoors
Our modern metropolitan areas are overcrowded. As a result, our vital energy is wasted on coping with the stress from an excessive flow of information. Not always there are conditions and possibilities to fully relax and unwind after work, as well as to practice yoga. Living in places away from the city, our lifestyle is more paced, we are much less exposed to stressful situations and we have more appropriate conditions to practice outdoors. Relaxation in such settings is deeper, and our vital energy – prana – is not only preserved, but it accumulates. This gives us the opportunity to discover and realize our full potential.
- Fresh air
Of great importance is the quality of the air we breathe. This is important both for our practice and health in general. When we breathe in fresh air, our mind becomes clearer and the psyche is balanced, our perception and awareness increase. This is especially noticeable during the practice of pranayama – the process of accumulating vitality through breathing. The air in the city is saturated with exhausts and dust, which negatively affect our health, our mind and its ability to concentrate. It is impossible to realize certain things while the mind is muddled.
- The harmony of surrounding sounds
The noise nuisance of the city creates a continuous stream of information that enters our mind and creates additional disturbances in it. These urban noises are different from natural sounds in their sharpness and brutality; they are unnatural and dissonant. The vibrations and frequencies of urban sounds cause anxiety, while the sounds of nature soothe, harmonize and generally have a positive effect.
- The harmony of visual forms
We live in a world of forms, which define a lot of things in our lives. If we are attentive enough, we can see the difference in our well-being when we live in an apartment building or in a country house. In the natural environment, we are surrounded by smooth forms and harmonious images like forests, fields, reservoirs, etc. In the city, in contrast with high buildings, we feel small, sometimes even helpless. It has its negative impact on us on a deep subtle level, even if we don’t realise it.
Of all the channels of perception, vision has the strongest influence on us. Contemplation of beautiful images is a powerful tool to work with our mind. There is a separate type of yoga – Yantra yoga, where we focus on yantras, which are special geometric images that have a certain established structure and color. Through such contemplation, our mind calms down, and we can e deep into ourselves. Beautiful landscapes not only contribute to accelerating the processes of Yoga, but also have a positive effect on our overall well-being.
- The rhythm of life and time
There is an opinion, that in each place the time flows at its own pace. For an urban dweller, the perception of time is usually accelerated. People always rush somewhere and do not have time to appreciate life itself. Away from cities, time seems to extend, life flows at a more even and hasteless pace. People in such places tend to be calm and positive.
- Associative links
Over time, we can adapt to many negative factors, but we must consider that our mind has gotten used to certain conditions over a long period of evolution. This affects many processes at a very deep level. The urban setups of modern civilization have developed relatively recently in the history of evolution and over this short period of time, our mind and other psychic structures didn’t catch up to adapt to them.
Sounds, smells and visual forms trigger or block certain processes in our body and psyche. This happens at the level of associative links. For example, someone associates a phenomenon with something pleasant that improves their life and well-being. In this specific case, this external factor may increase the flow of prana. This is an external key that opens the doors to our inner world. But for another person the same phenomenon may have no meaning or even cause aversion.
Being in nature, it is easier for us to feel the harmony of life. Our body, mind and emotions are more open and receptive. In such settings, the Yoga practice is done in the most harmonious and optimal way.
Do we have to wait for suitable conditions to practice yoga?
If we have the chance to live and practice yoga in nature, then we should take advantage of it. Nowadays, modern technologies make it possible to earn our living remotely and live outside the city. If, at the moment there is no such possibility, then we should practice in the available conditions and not wait for better ones. In any case, we should strive to be more often in nature. During the warm season, we can spend more time in urban parks and places with the least industrial influence.
At the very beginning of the process of self-exploration, the yogi should strive to create the most comfortable conditions for the practice. The natural environment allows us to focus on the sensations of the deep structures of our body. That is why we should strive to practice in nature as much as possible. However, we should not abandon the practice of yoga waiting for the right circumstances. By practicing in the conditions that we have at the moment, we increase our potential, which will help to further change our conditions of life for the better.
Practice in harmony with nature!
Authors: Andrey Medin
Author of the picture: Evgenia Agni
Editors: Maria Gayatri, Alla Ravi, Eva May, Olga Belous, Evgenia Agni
Chief editor: Marina Mirra
Project curator: Kerigona
Translators: Nat Satcitananda, Alexander Vijaya, Tatiana Sugrue
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