London is a mega city and in all the hustle and bustle the lovely (but sometimes brief) summer time can quickly escape us, especially if we forget to make time to be outside. I’ve been taking every opportunity to practice and teach outside. Without a garden of my own, I feel so lucky to have so many public green spaces in London to practice and teach in.
Whether you have time to actually attend some outdoor yoga classes or even just sit under a tree, have a cup of tea outside, connect with your breath and find some stillness in the great outdoors, every little helps! Being in nature is proven to help us relax and cope with stress. The wonderful thing is that you don’t even need to be in a national park or deep in the wilderness… a little urban green works wonders and can be incredibly healing!
Sometimes I find myself dashing around, always busy, trying to work things out in my head, filling my days and my mind unintentionally. I have to set aside time to stop, breath, meditate, practice asana and just be… Creating this ‘space’ can be easier said than done, but a little taste of the natural world can help you invite space more easily. Step outside, put yourself next to a tree or on the grass, notice the light from the sky and how it plays upon the leaves, watch the clouds, appreciate the beauty found in the little things and be present. To start with just for a couple of breaths, then when you have more time build this up to longer periods, follow the breath… Build noise from the traffic or people around you into your practice. Notice sounds, loud, soft, subtle, constant and acknowledge them, without analysing or judging just let the sounds be a backdrop of your present moment.
I often come back to this, one of my favourite quotes from the Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
“But isn’t the knowledge that comes from experience more valuable than the knowledge that doesn’t? It seems fairly obvious to some of us that a lot of scholars need to go outside and sniff around – walk through the grass, talk to the animals. That sort of thing.”
Here is a little of what I’ve been up to over the summer in London. I hope you also manage to enjoy the outdoors even in little snapshots!