Friday, March 26, 2010

The Great Outdoors

Try this experiment: Right now in front of your computer or phone, close your eyes and get a sense of what you’re feeling right now at this moment. Imagine, if you can, a flow of energy moving through you and around you and see if you can discern any particular rhythm. If this is too difficult for you, simply pay attention to what thoughts are consistent and predominant in your mind at this moment. After you’ve tried this, now go outside (preferably out in Nature) and stand or sit in a comfortable space and again close your eyes. Do the same exercise you did before inside, observing what rhythm of energy flow you can sense; what appears to be capturing your attention? What do you feel now that wasn’t as apparent as when you were inside? What differences can you sense between being indoors and out?

Obviously there is a difference and to the degree one did not experience any noticeable difference with this exercise, you can imagine how disconnected one is from Nature. And because everything that is “outside” in Nature can also be found within the Human body, one can be considered disconnected from themselves. Isn’t that how disease processes start? When one does not pay attention to what the body is revealing because the mind is too distracted, these processes can suddenly “sneak” up on you and get you while you weren’t looking. We can start paying attention now rather than later when we start exhibiting symptoms (which is the typical scenario when one starts to “take care” of them self).

Nature is abundant and FREE and is every where around us. I recommend, whenever you get a chance, to try working out outdoors. Try some yoga, qigong, or any form of meditation outside. And if you can, practice somewhere like a park where there are lots of trees, grass, plants, soil, birds, squirrels, etc. You can also get a decent work out in the children’s playground area and perform various body weight exercises. Or you can bring some basic equipment like small dumbbells, medicine balls, kettlebells, or a jump rope and add some more variety. You can always challenge your creativity by making up exercises with what ever is available in your chosen location. For example, in the video above, my family and I were visiting a biodynamic farm where across the street and behind a Waldorf School is a small forest with a stream running through it. In the forest, there were plenty of logs lying around to lift, trees to climb, rocks to lift and toss, and hills and inclines to be sprinted. By the farm, outside the farm store there was a little grassy area in which we decided to practice some yoga asanas. What I noticed immediately is that the expansive energies of the area were so “opening” and “freeing” and it was evident that what would normally take a bit more time for me to loosen up if I was practicing yoga indoors, was not even an issue on the lawn. It was as if the lawn/Nature was inviting us to “play” and like little children playing, we “played”. How often do we adults deny the call of Nature inviting us to experience the expansiveness and freedom and abundance because we trap ourselves in contraction, slavery, and scarcity?

Go now. Get outside. Breathe some fresh air. Appreciate Nature.

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