Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Teaching Yoga Outside: Natural Sunlight

By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

For many temperate areas of the United States, this time of year offers warm, balmy weather, which comfortably lends itself to teaching Yoga outside. In many areas of the United States, as well as in other countries, it is not possible to teach Yoga classes outside for much of the year because it is just too cold. However, practicing and teaching Yoga outside as much as possible helps to immediately put a practitioner in touch with the natural rhythms of the earth, as well as balance and align an individual’s endocrine system with the rising and setting of the sun. 

Ayurveda, Yoga’s health-promoting sister science, strongly advocates living in a balanced way with the natural rhythms of the earth. For instance, Ayurvedic doctors recommend that we rise just before dawn, so that our bodies and minds are energized and synchronized to the ascending sun. Although many of us may find it difficult or impossible to rise prior to dawn, depending on our own individual schedules and obligations, spending time outside helps to align the functioning of the body and mind more closely to the natural ebb and flow of the earth’s energy. 

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An easy way to spend more time outside is to practice Yoga out in nature. Weather permitting, it is usually quite easy to find a place to roll out a Yoga mat and practice some asanas, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. If you are teaching Yoga classes, you may find that your students will thoroughly enjoy practicing out of doors, particularly if they spend much of their day behind a desk. There are a variety of locations where you can teach Yoga classes outside, free of charge. 

Some of these locales may include community parks, beaches and grassy areas that are adjacent to your Yoga studio or health club. It is recommended that you check with your specific locality to find out if you need a permit to teach Yoga classes in a community park or on a beach boardwalk, for example. However, many local parks and other community spaces will not require a fee to use these outdoor spaces to teach classes. Teaching Yoga classes near water or on a mountaintop is also another way of turbo-charging the energizing and rejuvenating benefits of practicing outside. 

* The Benefits of Natural Sunlight

In addition to adding new spice to your Yoga classes by teaching classes outside, both you and your students will benefit from spending time in the warming rays of the sun. There are a number of critical benefits to spending time in natural sunlight. If you are in the sun for just ten minutes a day, your body produces enough vitamin D to meet your recommended daily allowance. This is dependent on having an ample amount of skin exposed to the sunlight, during the hours from approximately 10 am until 3 pm. Of course, if you are fair skinned or prone to burning, it is advisable to wear some sunscreen when you are outside. 

Another benefit of natural sunlight is that the vitamin D, which is produced by your own body’s exposure to the sun, helps dramatically to fight inflammation throughout the entire body. Many chronic, long-term diseases are directly linked to high levels of inflammation, including heart disease, arthritis and even cancer. By practicing and teaching Yoga classes outside in the natural sunlight, you will support your students’ overall good health and well-being, including boosting their vitamin D levels and lowering inflammation. 

Spending time in the natural sunlight also helps to establish a more balanced circadian rhythm. Many of us have great difficulty falling asleep at night because of the high levels of stress in our lives and because of the artificial extension of our daylight hours through electric lights, computer screens and other personal electronic devices. Practicing and teaching Yoga classes outside in the natural sunlight more finely tune the body’s biorhythms tuned to the cycles of the day and night. This entrainment to the natural world will further support your Yoga students in their quest for optimal good health and overall well-being. 

Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she specializes in writing customized articles that are 100% unique. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at: enchantress108@gmail.com

© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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2 comments:

parvezbdjsr said...

Practicing and teaching Yoga classes outside in the natural sunlight more finely tune the body’s biorhythms tuned to the cycles of the day and night. Thanks for nice sharing!

Mary Wilson said...

There are a number of critical benefits to spending time in natural sunlight. Students will benefit from spending time in the warming rays of the sun. Thanks for posting this good article.