Yoga and Nature

The earliest descriptions about Yoga as found on the earliest sculptures data back to about 5500 years ago and they illustrate individuals were imitating some aspects of the animal realm, which is not a new development on the connections between Yoga and the surroundings, rather natural phenomena. However, it is more than what meets the eye. Both Yoga and nature encourage one to live within the present moment regardless if it means watching a butterfly flutter from one flower to the other or just making an adjustment in poses to increase feeling. Practitioners are encouraged to make steps to feel as existential as they can feel at the moment. It is one of the options to rid oneself of the past emotional baggage and also alleviate anxieties concerning the future. 

There is a lot of research concerning the connection between relieving tension and spending time in nature. Nature does not only have a way of relieving stress, but it also helps with sharpening focus. It can engage the mind in one of the most interesting manners. As for the poses,  they too had an origin based on nature concepts. A tableau was found in the Indus Valley, showed a meditating deity known as the Pasupati, or the lord of the animals.  The divinity sat cross-legged and was surrounded by loving animals including cattle, goats, and some fictional forms. It is probably one of the primary origins of the Yoga position commonly practiced today. However, the genre of representation shows a sense of being in harmony and communion with the animal realm and it conveys a sense of peace and comfort in the company of non-human realities.

So it seems that taking a yoga class is the same as going on a guided nature walk. One could go down the same trail with other people, but everyone is going to have their individual experience and perception of the event. One may notice the call of a chickadee while another may be more interested in the workings of the snakes within their enclosure. There is a saying that nature does not regard attire. It is the same in Yoga class considering that practitioners have to acknowledge that no two bodies are the same translating to the poses taken as everyone has a different expression for their poses. In fact, practitioners are encouraged to accept these differences objectively.

As a matter of fact, nature provides an opportunity to explore. During excursions, practitioners push themselves to go a little further and see what lies on the ridge or the tree line. In this era of technology, physical excursion is not guaranteed, so it is a shock to the system and a form of exercise. In this exploration, the person is improving their motor skills and burning unneeded calories. Yoga helps one to build their physical endurance which comes in handy especially in lengthening lifespan and deterring from some lifestyle diseases. Thus, Yoga can be termed an expression of nature in movement. 

Yan Jiang