Friday, June 19, 2015

Teaching Yoga Outside: Slowing Down

outdoor classes
By: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

In every living being on the earth, there is an internal pulsation of expansion and contraction, which is linked to the breath. This pulsation of life is deeply and inexorably connected to the resonant rhythm of the earth itself. By teaching Yoga outside, you will support your students in aligning themselves more fully with the natural rhythms that surround us all the time. When we are more aligned with the expansion and contraction of natural energy throughout the day, we are more deeply able to relax and feel supported by the earth. 

In our fast-paced, electronically driven world, the natural pulsation of life that is so easy to feel when we are in nature is often obscured. Many of us stay up far past sunset watching movies or surfing the Internet because of our easy access to electricity, which powers artificial lighting and most of our electronic gadgets, including computers, televisions and iPads - Although these gadgets are tremendously helpful and a source of enjoyment, they can also disturb our biorhythms if we stare at the brightly lit screens well into the night. 

In fact, many circadian rhythm researchers are finding that the blue wavelength light of many computer screens, iPads and televisions directly prevent the pituitary gland from secreting melatonin into the blood stream. Melatonin is a critical hormone for regulating healthy sleep patterns. When this hormone’s balance in the brain is lessened, it can be quite difficult to fall asleep and/or to stay asleep. In addition, the amount of electromagnetic energy that most of us absorb from the devices that constantly surround us also disturbs the healthy functioning of the endocrine system, which has far reaching negative consequences for our health over the long run. 

If you are able to teach some or all of your Yoga classes outside, weather permitting of course, you will support your Yoga students in optimizing their cadence with the natural rhythms of the earth. Teaching Yoga classes outside will also allow your students to feel soothed by the slower, predictable pace of the natural world. For example, melting into Seated Forward Fold while watching the sun dip below the horizon is much more soothing than being surrounded by beeps, buzzing and a general cacophony of people talking on their cell phones or watching television, as they work out at a health club. 

On the other hand, of course it is better that people are exercising and engaging with other people, rather than simply staying at home, sitting on the couch and watching television. As a professional Yoga teacher, you are probably well aware of how powerfully therapeutic a regular practice of Yoga postures, pranayama exercises and meditation or relaxation techniques can be. By offering your students classes in a natural outdoor environment, you will further support the balancing and rejuvenating benefits of a regular Yoga practice. Keeping the interest of your students and increasing their commitment to their practice is a key component of curating a dedicated group of Yoga students. 

As a Yoga teacher, you will generate new energy and enthusiasm for the practice when your offer classes in a different setting, even if it is on the roof top of a health club, on the beach or in a local park. Practicing and teaching Yoga outside will help your students to slow down, breath more deeply and feel the earth beneath their mats. Flowing through a vinyasa practice, which slows down with the setting sun, will very naturally calm the body and mind and support your students in letting go of the concerns of the day. When your Yoga students let go of the concerns of the day they will be able to truly rest during the night, so that they are rejuvenated and ready for the next day ahead. 

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:

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

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parvezbdjsr said...

Practicing and teaching Yoga outside will help your students to slow down, breath more deeply and feel the earth beneath their mats. Thanks for posting this good article.

Mary Wilson said...

Teaching Yoga classes outside will also allow your students to feel soothed by the slower, predictable pace of the natural world. Thanks for this valuable post.

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