Getting outside in the fresh air is important for our physical and mental health. And with the weather getting warmer and the evenings getting longer, we’re all keen to make the most of the summer months by spending more time outdoors.
So, why not soak up some extra daylight hours by taking your yoga practice outside?
In this article, we look at the benefits of spending more time outside and provide some useful tips on how to get the most from your outdoor practice.
1. Fresh air cleanses the lungs
Exhaling releases airborne toxins from the body and when you’re in a confined space you end up breathing these toxins back in. However, when you’re outdoors you're breathing in fresh oxygen which helps to cleanse the lungs and clear the respiratory passages.
2. Increases vitamin D absorption
Vitamin D is one of the essential nutrients within the body, playing a vital role in the absorption and retention of calcium and phosphorus, which are both important for maintaining healthy bones. It’s also an energy and mood booster, making it a key requirement for mental health.
Our bodies create vitamin D from sunlight and even as little as 10 minutes of direct sun a day can boost your vitamin D levels. If you’re not getting enough vitamin D you’re more likely to feel tired and lethargic, which is why many people feel less energised in the winter months, as it’s difficult for our bodies to get the sunlight required for vitamin D production.
3. Improves sleep
Studies have also shown spending time outside contributes to better sleep. This is because exposure to natural light regulates our circadian rhythm.
Our circadian rhythm is essentially our internal clock that tells our bodies when to sleep and when to wake up. Spending time outdoors, particularly first thing in the morning, helps our bodies to establish a healthy waking pattern so that we feel alert and energised during the day and tired when it’s time to go to bed.
4. Reduces anxiety and depression
Recent studies show that spending time in nature can have a huge impact on mental health, helping to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. So, why not find a quiet place among nature to complete your practice? Of course, for those who live in busy urban areas, this may be more of a challenge. But even sitting in your local park amongst the greenery, listening to the birds singing and feeling the sunshine on your face can significantly reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
5. Increases mental focus
Fresh air provides more oxygen to the brain, which is scientifically proven to increase concentration. Being outside also provides a mental break from the things that are draining our attention, allowing us to return feeling physically and mentally refreshed.
The beauty of yoga is very little equipment is required, just grab your mat and you’re good to go. Alternatively, if the ground is soft and you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you can always try without a mat. Feeling the earth beneath your feet provides a strong sense of grounding and will really help to reinforce your connection with nature.
Practice with friends
If you like the idea of practising outdoors but feel a bit nervous or embarrassed at the idea of making your yoga practice public, why not ask a friend to join you? Alternatively, look out for groups that run classes outdoors, you’ll be surprised at how many are around!
Ready to give it a try?
We hope this article has inspired you to get out in the fresh air. However, whether you’re inside or outside, CorkYogis natural and sustainable cork product range allows you to feel connected with nature throughout your practice. So if you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out our cork yoga mats, blocks and accessories.