Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ~ John Muir
Kripalu yoga talks about “accessing body wisdom” and “attunement to inner wisdom.” About unification of the dichotomous brain — marrying of inner and outer awareness. Yoga is union.
I most often feel this kind of complete alignment when I am in physical motion in a natural setting — Perhaps hiking on a nearby trail, swimming in a summer lake, practicing yoga on the deck, or even digging in the garden. It should not be surprising that we have evolved on this earth to feel most whole when we are actively engaged with our planetary host!
One author who has explored the impact of nature on the human psyche is Richard Louv, author of the acclaimed “Last Child in the Woods.” In Psychology Today, he writes:
We need more research, but we know intuitively that nature stimulates the mind and soul and our love of place.
Louv also states that “making the connection requires not only special places but special people,” including parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts or even our friends. I know exactly who those people have been for me, and there have been quite a few. But I think my parents laid the cornerstone, encouraging us to play outside, to stay outside. Hours spent gently sculpting mud pies, observing salamanders, watching meteor showers, gathering bags full of milkweed fluff (I imagined using them to stuff a pillow!), catching frogs, making snow caves, lying in the hay mow noting how a sliver of sunlight through the slats of the barn wall could release the scent of warm alfalfa, and on and on. I owe Mom and Dad a world of thanks for these and numerous other brain enhancing experiences in nature.I feel the truth in his statement every time I saunter the path in the woods beside our house, listening to the burble of the creek, stooping to go nose-to-nose with a flower or eye-to-eye with a little insect. My human mind seems to aware of an intrinsic, irresistible connection between humanity and the other lifeforms in our neighborhood.
The gifts of personal practice (meditation, yoga, etc) and time in nature combine to create a life-changing force available to some degree to every human being who chooses to receive them. Hurray!! Whether I have access to a pristine beach or a postage-stamp yard or a city park, I can make a physical/mental/spiritual practice of receiving the healing quality of natural world.
Research tells us that we can continue to shape our brains throughout life with practices like meditation and yoga. So, whatever else you do, make a regular practice of taking time in nature. Move your body to a natural space. Open your heart and mind to receive nature ‘s good tidings and let her peace flow into you…