You know that feeling you get when you’re standing at the edge of a cliff looking over the spectacular mountains? Or when you’re on the shore gazing at the expansiveness of the sea? That brief glimpse of oneness with nature is our teacher. It’s our guide, and it leads us to the bliss that we seek through the practice of yoga.
Yoga in Nature
Why is this so? Because when you stand with your feet rooted in the earth and your head in the clouds (which is literally the case at The Art of Living Center, when you’re atop the Blue Ridge Mountains), the lines of separation between you and the auspicious world around you drop away.
Nature is devoid of the myriad attachments we humans tend to place on things. No labels, no judgements, no expectations: a flower is a flower, a weed is a weed, and it’s all part of the same big, beautiful picture. We do a lot of work in meditation to help us reach this one simple yet profound point: being totally present, without ego separating us from all that surrounds us.
This oneness can be sourced when you’re in the heart of nature. Here, with the birds singing, the sunlight glittering against the mountains, and the wind sighing through the trees, we have immediate access to the present moment. The hurried mind can relax amidst nature’s rhythms.
Once you’ve experienced these beautiful moments outside, then it becomes much easier to take these skills back to the city with you.
Taking Your Practice Home
Once you’ve experienced these beautiful moments outside, then it becomes much easier to take these skills back to the city with you. Because really we are an integral part of nature—so it never leaves us, even when we leave the mountain. At times the synthetic world can make those moments seem distant and estranged. So by planting yourself on the earth you can create an inward and outward connection that you can return to again and again. Once you establish a relationship with the mountains and the clouds and the trees, that connection travels with you wherever you go.
No matter if you’re standing on a street corner, in your car or at your desk, you can feel the corners of your mouth turn upward, your eyes glimmer. It is that inward smile the yogis refer to, knowing wherever you are, as they say upon welcoming you to the Art of Living, you are home.