I love my yoga mat. It's earth friendly, portable and a visual cue for me to commit to my practice and be in each unfolding moment. It has allowed me to practice on all kinds of floors the world over since I began practising yoga over a decade ago. However this summer I have decided to consciously, and as often as possible, step off my mat, onto the earth.
With the expansiveness of summer in the air and living in such a beautiful part of the world, on the edge of forest and sea I feel extremely lucky to call Aotearoa home. After an especially hectic last few weeks I took my morning practice outside with a strong need to slow down and ground myself. Standing on my mat in Tadasana, my feet urged to feel the ground, so stepping off onto soft grass I let my toes sink and settle, my feet to spread and be really held… no space between, I rooted my feet into earth and felt the connection between myself and Papatuanuku as a direct living experience. Vibrating, pulsing with this calming energy I slowed right down and allowed my practice to unfold.
Lengthening, opening, creating space, expanding up and outwards like the tall Nikau tree in my gaze, I experienced Vrkasana with a sense of joy and freedom. Feeling truly of earth and sky. Connected to the earth, flowing with the breath effortlessly.
Experiencing the elements all around and how they move within the body and mind. Feeling the way the breath changes within each posture, just like the ever-changing breezes moving the branches and leaves of the trees around. An inter-connectedness with all around, knowing the trees are breathing, producing the oxygen I inhale, absorbing my exhalations.
Moving deeper into the practice feeling the warmth of the sun, the play of air on skin, the sensations of the ground beneath with a deep sense of been held and nourished; and within this the invitation to go deeper into the more subtle aspects of the practice.
Like Yoga, I feel Nature, is always available to connect us back to our source, out innate sense of connection and belonging. A sense of trusting and ultimately letting go when we know we truly feel part of the web of life, not separate. For me Yoga in Nature = blissful unity (even if fleeting!)
Like our ancient yogi ancestors who were inspired by the forms of nature and animals, we can deepen our own practice by opening ourselves up to the energy that exists within everything.
This summer why not take your yoga outside into reserves, parks, beaches, your own backyard, anywhere that feels good.
Shake your practice up a little, let it flow without a plan, let it move through you.
Let your feet sink into the ground, your heart expand as wide as the sky. Become part of the eternal dance.