This past weekend, I led a group up to the Pocono Mountains for our Nature of Yoga Retreat. Three days of hiking and yoga.
Beyond the whole-body response to being out in nature, doing yoga and being able to unplug and focus for three full days, there was something else that really struck me. After all this time doing yoga and after all the miles I’ve logged on trails out in the woods, the combination of the two was more impactful than I’d expected.
There are studies that indicate that, after three days in nature, our brains begin to recalibrate. They go from solving problems to experiencing the moment. By combining that experience with the yoga we do on our mats, there was a deep shift in how I was seeing the things around me. Nature invites us to look outward and see things we may not have noticed. Yoga allows us to look inward for those same discoveries. Combining the two created a mind-opening opportunity to spend time in the present moment, both by looking outward and looking inward.
This kind of full sensory experience is so unique. To be able to touch, see, taste, hear and smell your surroundings all at once brought it all to life in a heightened sense of awareness. So now, even though I’m back from the retreat and life is rolling along, that glimpse into a more aware state of being is guiding my days. And in the end, that’s what yoga is all about.