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Connect with Nature by Taking Yoga Outdoors

Yoga in the outdoors to connect with nature

Connect with Nature by Taking Yoga Outdoors 

By Masie Barefoot-Judson

My last name happens to be Barefoot, and it is probably not too surprising, for those reading this article, that going barefoot to practice yoga felt very natural for me. Over time I began to understand the feeling I remembered from childhood is what yogis call “grounding” or pulling in prana; feeling the presence of the earth through the soles of my feet, up to the palms of my hands, filling my cup and creating an abundance of prana within.


Have you ever felt the earth beneath your feet – I mean, really felt it? Have you taken your shoes off and felt the cold soil or spread your toes wide to feel the surface of your yoga mat? What I remember most about my childhood is the freedom of going barefoot — playing without shoes and exploring wide-open spaces with my hands and feet. Although I have grown up, there is still a bit of this child practising yoga. My yoga mat may not physically be a wide-open space, but still… it gives me the chance to explore its textured surface on my skin with child-like delight.

“Connecting with your natural setting is grounding and playful, and with practice, often meditative.”

Perhaps you, too, have felt this connection with the earth moving into your practice. In my teaching style, the seasons play a vital role in the sequences I use. On warm days, I may notice that my students seem more limber but often feel tired by the end of the day; and on cooler days, I get requests to open the shoulders where we have cinched tension around the neck. Moreover, as we move through Spring, I create intense internal heat with long, slow movements, taking the time to linger and find ease within the movement. Spring is often the perfect time to take your yoga outdoors to bask in the sun or enjoy a nice shaded spot. Alternatively, forget your mat and leap into nature as your yoga mat. I have rested my back against boulders in tadasana, connecting with the mountain. The options are endless – imagine yourself in bidalasana, alternating between cat and cow poses. Alternatively, you could rise into a tree pose while reaching out and resting your palm on a tree’s trunk. Connecting with your natural setting is grounding, playful, and often meditative with practice.


If you instead practice meditation instead of yoga outdoors, you can still practice outside and connect with nature. For example, you can sit at the base of a tree and use the canvas of your mind to grow upward like the tree. Feel your roots grow down into the soil from the bottom of your spine. Expanding our consciousness, we dive deeper into our connection to nature.


May Day approaches, and the ancient celebration of Beltane marks Spring. The season is a chance to invite abundance, growth, and increase into your life. So I invite you to roll your mat outdoors this May 1st to explore your connection to Mother Earth and draw on the seasons as you expand your yoga lifestyle. I also invite you to play like a child and have fun.

 This article originally appeared on the Art of Living Retreat Center’s Website.

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