Teaching Outdoor Yoga Cultivates Gratitude

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Teaching Outdoor Yoga Cultivates Gratitude

about teaching outdoor yogaBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed.

Teaching outdoor Yoga classes can be a special treat depending on your climate. During the balmy days of summer, teaching classes outside can easily facilitate a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the natural beauty that surrounds us. If you live in a temperate climate zone in the United States, you may find that it is possible to teach Yoga outside from early spring until the late fall season. Of course, this will depend on the daily weather patterns, including any rainy or windy weather. However it is possible to teach classes outside most of the time, even if a particular day is overcast or slightly windy, especially if you can locate a protected space where you can teach your classes.

Many town parks and community centers offer partially enclosed stage areas or other semi-protected exercise spaces, which are available to be utilized by the general public. If you are teaching Yoga classes on a regular basis in one of these areas, it is advisable for you to make sure that you don’t need a permit or to schedule specific times to utilize the space. Most of the time, there is no fee to offer fitness classes in an open community space. When you have the opportunity to teach Yoga classes outside, you will find that the simple act of connecting to the earth and mindfully noticing the natural beauty around you, will help your students to immediately get into touch with a sense of gratitude in their hearts for the beauty that surrounds them.

Many of us often rush from one task to another during the daytime hours. Because our schedules are often packed with many daily responsibilities, it can be difficult to slow down enough to truly notice the beauty that surrounds us at all times. By teaching Yoga classes outside, you will allow your students the opportunity to notice the beauty of nature, which will help them to cultivate a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us. According to a number of experts in the growing field of Positive Psychology, cultivating a sense of gratitude is imperative if we want to be as healthy and happy as possible.

As you are probably aware, many Yoga students begin taking classes, in order to truly cultivate a deep sense of emotional health and well being, in addition to optimal physical health. As more and more experts in the field of Positive Psychology determine that the simple act of cultivating a grateful and appreciative state of mind has profound effects on both mental and physical health, the simple act of slowing down enough to notice the beauty in our natural environment will help your Yoga students to cultivate uplifting feelings of optimism, joy and expansiveness.

According to Positive Psychology experts, gratitude has two components that are central to generating this expansive state of well-being. The first component is a simple affirmation of the good things in our lives. To facilitate this awareness, you may want to suggest to your Yoga students that they keep a gratitude journal, in which they can list, five things a day for which they are grateful. This will facilitate an awareness of the good things in their lives. The second aspect of gratitude, according to Positive Psychology, is an awareness of all the beautiful and good things that exist outside of ourselves, including all of the love and gifts that are given to us freely, both from the natural world and from the people in our community.

When we acknowledge how many gifts we receive from the natural world and from the people who surround us on a daily basis, we usually feel more humble and grateful for the goodness in our own lives. This sense of gratitude helps to strengthen our relationships. When we feel grateful, we are also much more likely to want to “pay it forward” by offering our skills and talents back to our community. As a professional Yoga instructor, you can easily help to cultivate an inner sense of appreciation in your students’ hearts, which will foster their desire to give back to their community, simply by teaching classes in a beautiful natural environment!

You may also wish to incorporate some simple mindfulness techniques and breathing exercises into your outdoor Yoga classes, in order to cultivate a deeper sense of gratitude. For example, during the initial movements of the Sun Salutation, you may suggest to your students that they visualize taking the sunlight into their own bodies, as they reach their arms overhead and press their hands into Prayer Position. As your Yoga students bring their hands back down to their sides with their next exhale, you may want to suggest to them that they visualize that they are bringing the sunlight down into their own bodies.

Ask your students to feel the sunlight fill their bodies with light and warmth all the way down to the soles of their feet, which are connected to the verdant green grass below them. In this way, they will be practicing the physical postures of the Sun Salutation, in addition to becoming mindfully aware of the natural beauty that surrounds them, as they fluidly move with their breath. Practicing the Sun Salutation in this way will help to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, appreciation and awareness of the natural beauty that surrounds us at all times.

Virginia Iversen, M.Ed, has been practicing and studying the art of Yoga for over twenty years. She lives in Woodstock, New York, where she specializes in writing customized articles that are 100% unique. She is currently accepting Yoga and health-related writing orders and may be contacted at: enchantress108@gmail.com.

© Copyright 2015 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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3 Comments

  1. Masud Parvez August 3, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    Teaching yoga classes outside can easily facilitate a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the natural beauty that surrounds us. Thanks for posting this nice article.

  2. Mary Wilson August 3, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    By teaching Yoga classes outside, one can allow his/her students the opportunity to notice the beauty of nature, which will help them to cultivate a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us. Its really valuable article for yoga teachers. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Emerald Flores August 30, 2015 at 12:19 am

    Great article. Practicing yoga outside will let students enjoy the beauty of nature.

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