Yoga and nature connection… one and the same
This post is written by Nature Wellbeing Australia Guide, Louise Kiddell. Louise is also a Yoga Teacher and the Founder of Barefoot Wellbeing. She is based in Sydney.
If you are a regular yoga practitioner, you likely already know that yoga encompasses much more than stretching and strengthening the body. The word yoga means connection. Through breath centred practice we connect to our internal environment. The process and practice of yoga is a journey to understanding our true nature. It is reflective or interospective. The Yoga Sutras refer to this as svadhyaya.
I teach according to the philosophy of viniyoga. This means staying in specific, continuous connection with our own practice, which honours our personal circumstances. This is the classical teaching of Sri Krishnamacharya and his son TKV Desikachar, who said;
“Yoga must be made to suit the individual, not the individual to suit the yoga…Progress on the path of yoga means different things for different people.”
That is, yoga is an individual journey, inwards.
As well as teaching yoga, I lead mindful Nature Connection Walks, also called Forest Bathing or Nature and Forest Therapy walks. Sometimes I refer to this practice as ‘bushwalking yoga’ because to me nature connection and yoga are one and the same.
A nature connection walk is a mindful journey on both external and internal landscapes. Through gentle invitations to explore your surroundings, you begin to notice that what you witness outside is a mirror to what is occurring inside. As you become more relaxed, connected and grounded you start to notice more, both in your external surroundings and within yourself.
Expanding your awareness is a key part of yoga and it is a key part of connecting with nature. Much like a yoga practice, a nature connection walk is a moving meditation that allows us to tune into the subtle energetic fluctuations in our physical system.
I have trained in this practice with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides. The walks we lead are informed by nature connection practices common to ancestral cultures around the world and also the modern Japanese practice of “Forest Bathing”. Nature Connection walking is a way to walk in the bush in specific, continuous connection to our internal and external landscapes. It is the application of viniyoga to the outdoors!
If you are in Sydney and would like to explore this practice for yourself, I will be leading a Spring time program of walks in Centennial Park in September. Check my website www.barefootwellbeing.com for details.