Yoga in the Forest

New year, new things…

I’m not going to lie, it’s been tough not doing new things every day. There have been many, many times where I’ve been wandering around my house, convinced that I should be doing something. I couldn’t resist the lure of the new for long though, and I’m back, ready to dive into a whole bunch of new things that I’ll share with you.

A dirt path in a very green forest.
Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

First on the list came about from a brisk new year’s walk in the forest. I’ve lived by the sprawling Stadtwald in Frankfurt for years, and although I’ve enjoyed going for infrequent walks and runs here and there, last year saw me exploring the forest multiple times a week. I would escape my four walls and walk underneath the shady trees, looking for, and often finding, all sorts of wildlife hiding away. It became a sanctuary, and without realising it I found I’d been practising forest bathing, a Japanese concept developed to highlight the multiple health benefits of connecting with nature by mindfully walking and spending time in a forest.

During a very cold walk a day or two after new year’s day, I spotted a lady doing some yoga on an open green area, right in the middle of the forest. I watched her flow through her poses with ease, despite the low temperature and curious passerby’s, and I became inspired. I love yoga, and practice regularly, but have never thought to do it outside in my beloved forest. A seed was planted, and I patiently waited for the weather to clear until I could try it for myself.

A person in sportswear, in a forest. They are stretching their arms over their head as if in a yoga pose.
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Finally, the weather cleared and I headed out to find the clearing the woman had been at. It was bitterly cold, and as I approached the forest entrance it started snowing. I hesitated slightly but continued, I find the snow very soothing and I thought it would only add to the experience. Plus, I was going to feel so damn virtuous after this!

I got to the clearing after about half an hour and the snowfall had slowed to a gentle flake landing on my face here and there. It was perfect.

Hannah doing Warrior 2 yoga pose in the forest.

I moved through a couple of sun salutations and it felt so natural and free to do them outdoors. I’ve done a yoga class on a beach before (beautiful but hard!) but it was such a different experience doing it solo. I loved standing in mountain pose and rather than see my radiator and the view outside of the window, I got to see all this open space with no barriers and barely anyone around.

The view

Doing this in the middle of the morning, in the middle of the week, was ideal as there were very few people around, but even so, I didn’t feel self-conscious one bit until the camera came out. The energy shifted into doing this for myself, into doing this for content – it seemed so insincere and far away I’d had from the experience I’d been having before it came out.

Doing yoga in the forest, a place of deep tranquillity for me, was grounding and inspiring. It lifted my spirits and left me feeling joyful for the rest of the day. My only regret was taking pictures, something I’ll have to learn to balance if I do any more new things in this vein. This was a great experience to start another year of new things with and is something I will absolutely do again.

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