Finding Nirvana in Nature
Posted on by Keara Donick
Guest blogger Andrea Paz (@yogabyandrea) shares her experiences with outdoor yoga.
"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely, or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy amidst the simple beauty of nature. ...I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles." - Anne Frank
Close your eyes and imagine a picture of a place that you would use to describe the words beautiful and peaceful. Was it somewhere in nature? Isn’t it amazing that it doesn’t matter your cultural background, your socio-economic status, your religion or where you were raised; nature is known as beautiful, calming, and healing universally.
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, Washington State to be exact. It wasn’t until I moved to New York for a year that I truly began to appreciate the healing and peace that being surrounded by nature can bring. I have never considered myself a creative person, but there’s something about being surrounded by this creation that inspires me to create every time I’m in it, I can’t help it. My way of being creative is finding new yoga poses to incorporate into the landscape that surrounds me.
My nature yoga journey begins three years ago; I was a different person. I had just come back home from college and was living a rather sedentary lifestyle. I never exercised and did not have any motivation to, other than the obvious fact that I had gained some weight while away at college. Not too long after that, I began having hip pain that I couldn’t explain at 20 years old. I had heard of yoga but had never given it a shot, so I went to my first hot yoga class. I hated it, but I had a free pass for 2 weeks so I kept going. The first two weeks were hard, but I started seeing changes in my body which really encouraged me to continue. After about a month of doing yoga, I suddenly realized my hips weren’t hurting anymore! I’ve fallen in love with yoga and the healing affects it has had on my body, not only yoga but exercise in general. So much so that I’m currently in school studying Kinesiology, which is exercise science.
The place that I always go back to when I picture that beautiful, calming place in my mind is Kauai. Specifically, hiking the Napali coast and coming across this river where fresh water met the ocean, it was my first and most memorable moment from my nature yoga experiences. Incorporating the two things that I am passionate about, was so exciting and fun, it just flowed naturally. Moving back to the Pacific Northwest really gave me a greater appreciation for being outside and the stunning nature that is all around me. I decided that even if I can’t always be in Hawaii, that I would not miss out on the amazing places that are right outside my door. Not too long ago, I started using the hashtag #yogatiptuesdays in the hopes of being able to help those who are interested in advancing their yoga poses and to share some tips that have helped me during my time practicing yoga. I’ve made it a goal to explore somewhere new in Washington every week if possible, and I hope by sharing my journey of yoga and nature that I can encourage someone else to make time for what they are passionate about, to take care of their body and of course to enjoy the healing effects of getting outside!