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Making Your Outdoor Yoga Session Fruitful

Making Your Outdoor Yoga Session Fruitful

“Nature connects us to our roots,” said Dr. Matthew Baral, a leader at Sedona Yoga Festival. When practicing yoga in a studio, teachers do their best to establish an ambiance of soft lights, soothing sounds, and an aromatic atmosphere. Often, this is usually an attempt to evoke a natural setting and environment - the great outdoors. Why settle for an imitation of outdoor surrounding when you can get out and experience its real form? Outdoor practice adds a distinctive dimension to your routine and strips yoga down to its pristine link with nature.”Yoga means union, and when practiced outdoors, it lets you feel the union between nature, humanity and the universe,” said Hillary Kimblin, a Vedic Hatha yoga teacher in Beverly Hills, California.

Embracing the experience

There is an array of places you can choose to practice. For instance, you may settle for the slopes of a hill or a mountain, allowing you to incorporate rock-climbing which will also keep you grounded to nature. Despite your choice of location, practicing outside can intensify your yoga experience in many ways. This is because nature ordains and inspires prime routines such as focusing awareness, breathing deeply, and practicing stillness. First, though, you need to think more regarding embracing rather than indulging in these elements as it can help in making the experience more fruitful. Among other benefits, embracing helps to remind that a breeze could deepen your breathing, the warm sun could make your muscles more docile, and a small insect could let you focus on something still and small, aiding meditation. Many aspects of yoga are, in fact, about being in the moment and marrying with nature, which is why many asanas reflect animals and nature. “By putting your body into a shape of a tree or a stretching cat, or breathing with the pace of tides creates a sense of harmony, timelessness, and connection to the universe,” said Jane Jarecki, a Kripalu yoga teacher in Vermont.

Do you need a mat?

Uneven landscapes on sand, grass or forest floors can intensify particular yoga postures, hence increasing their benefits. “Practicing on uneven surfaces builds the secondary muscles of a yogi’s feet, knees, hips, spine, and shoulders,” noted Marts Foster, a Vinyasa yoga teacher in San Jose. “If you feel distracted by the rough ground, take it as an opportunity to find patience, peace, and center,” added Jarecki. On the other hand, Kimblin who leads full-moon yoga recommends using 2 thick mats when practicing outdoor routines. She added that such mats make the tiny stones and uneven terrains tolerable. Therefore, based on these 2 arguments, whether you use a yoga mat or not should depend on the location, routines in the subject, and personal preference.

Despite your level of skill, practicing yoga outdoors is an incredible experience, and you should try it. Some of the places you can start with include your backyard, the beach, community parks, national parks, and lakes. In Arizona, Phoenix city is a significant home of outdoor yoga with many sessions and events such as poolside yoga parties, goat yoga among others. All in all, pairing up yoga and nature is an incredible experience that expands everyone, and has an immediate freedom that you can not fully clone indoors.


By Cassandra Steele

Yoga Benefits for Skin & Stress by Cassandra Steele

Practicing Yoga for Beautiful Skin

Yoga, a milleniary practice that dates back over 5000 years, is booming in America, with the number of practitioners having grown to over 36 million. Many are attracted to yoga’s well known ability to improve cardiovascular activity, fitness, balance, and overall strength, but yoga also has powerful benefits for our mental health and even our appearance. In this post, we hone in on yoga’s ability to improve the appearance of skin. Yoga is, indeed, the perfect example of the unity between physical, mental, and emotional/spiritual health and well-being.

The Effect of Stress on Skin

The intricate relationship between stress and skin conditions has been established in various studies. Recent research also links psychological stress to the onset or worsening of many skin diseases, including psoriasis, acne, atopic dermatitis, and more. One study published in the journal Inflammation & Allergy-Drug Targets found that stress can negatively affect the skin’s permeability barrier, causing greater sensitivity to allergens and microbial organisms, as well as increase moisture loss. We know that one of the worse things we can do to the skin is to forget to moisturize, yet in order for our body to retain any moisture we apply, it is important to keep stress at bay.

Yoga a Powerful Stress Buster

Yoga has been found in numerous studies to significantly lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol. In a fascinating study published by Coventry University, it was found that yoga not only relaxes us; like meditation and Tai Chi, it ‘reverses’ the molecular reactions in our DNA which influence the brain and immune system negatively. As noted in the study, stress causes the activation of genes and the production of cytokines: proteins that cause inflammation at a cellular level. The inflammation cascade involves harmful activity by free radicals, which cause collagen fibers to clump up, and degrade collagen and elastin (the building blocks of skin), causing skin to become thinner and creating wrinkles and sagging. Studies such as these indicate that stress busting activities are key not only to our emotional well-being, but also to our appearance. Stress and inflammation cause redness, cracks in skin, dry patches, flaking, and many more conditions that extend beyond lines and typical signs of aging.

The Physiological Effects of Yoga

Yoga benefits the skin in additional ways. By promoting circulation, it aids in the process of skin cell renewal. Energetic yoga forms can also raise the body’s temperature, enabling you to get rid of harmful toxins. Moreover, specific asanas (for instance, the camel pose) and pranayamas can increase the amount of oxygen that flows through cells, thus aiding in the repair and renewal of collagen and elastin.

Yoga boosts our strength, flexibility, and sense of calm, but it also helps us sport beautiful skin in many ways. In addition to helping skin cells perform optimally, it helps battle stress, thus keeping inflammation (a major cause of premature aging) at bay. Support your yoga practice with a sound diet comprising plenty of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, as well as lean protein and healthy Omega-3 fats, which also prevent inflammation and boost the immunity.

Creating A Beautiful Yoga Space At Home by Cassandra Steele

If you have already been on a healing yoga retreat or you practice yoga regularly with the dedicated team at Anahata, then you probably dream of creating a similarly inspired space at home for your morning sun salutations, meditation, or practice sessions. Although you should always find a way to express your personality and tastes in your home décor, specific elements are common to almost all spaces in which yoga is practiced fervently. These include a sense of calm, natural elements, and inspired imagery or sculptures. To create a space that exudes tranquility yet bears a beautiful design, follow these tips. Read More

What are the Mental Health Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness? By Cassandra Steele

The Power of Mindfulness: Taking Care of Your Mental Health Finding ways to reduce stress is vital for our long term physical and mental health. Over 8 million Americans are living with stress and, with no sign of this statistic letting up any time soon, it is more important than ever to find ways of overcoming stress and replenishing the aura. We have observed the power of kriyas and meditation; mindfulness offers a form of meditation that aims to help restore spiritual health on a daily basis, in the midst of the stress so often present within and around us. Read More

My Journey with Alchemy Crystal Singing Bowls - By Tara Kaur

The journey began at the end of my level 1 Kundalini Yoga teacher training at Anahata Yoga Sound and Energy Healing. I had been in the yogic space with the crystal bowls for nearly the entire duration of my teacher training but did not have a relationship with them nor was I particularly curious about them. Of course I thought they were beautiful but I did not feel drawn to learning about or experiencing them. Read More

What My Sadhana Means To Me by Cara Tracy

After a few visits to Anahata or another kundalini yoga studio, you likely have heard the word Sadhana. Sadhana means daily spiritual practice. Yogi Bhajan refers to it as “a personal process in which you bring out your best.” In Kundalini Yoga, it includes a Kriya and meditation. Read More

A Journey in KYTT at ANAHATA - In English and Spanish - By Joti Nirvair Kaur (Claudia Barrazo)

Have you had that feeling of fear, emotion, curiosity, and happiness when trying something new? Well, that is what happened to me when I was looking into registering for a certification class as a teacher of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. And I can tell you that it was the best life decision that I could have made. Read More

The 40-Day Challenge - by Cara Tracy

“The 40-Day Challenge sounds fun, but I’m not sure it will work with my schedule,” I said to Ronee, the owner of Anahata. “You can do it,” she said. A few days later I started, and 222 days later I finished. Read More

40 Hour Vibrational Sound Healing Training Testimonials

Sound Healing Training Testimonials. Our participants learned so much and had so much fun at this training. This is what they had to say! Thank you! Read More

THE SOUND OF YOGA - Incorporating Sound Healing into Your Yoga Class or Personal Yoga Practice - Ronee Kipnes

The Sound of Yoga – Incorporating Sound Healing into Your Yoga Class or Personal Yoga Practice. Yoga: The yoking of the body, mind, and spirit. The ancient technology of yoga is a science. Combining asana, pranayama, mudra, mantra, and meditation has a direct and profound effect on one’s overall physical, emotional, and spiritual health and wellbeing. Read More