Balance and Bliss through Yoga in Nature- By Carmen


Don’t be fooled by social media, you don’t need a yoga mat, blocks, or even a cute crop top and yoga pants.  There is nothing wrong with indoor yoga studios and all the yoga gadgets, but you cannot experience the elements in an air conditioned studio or the comfort of your bedroom.

Tree Pose (Vrksasana) on Mossel Bay Beach: Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles and spine. Stretches groin, inner thighs, chest and shoulders. Helps you to find your balance.

During my yoga practice, I like to get my feet a little dirty, I seldom use a mat and often embark upon a session spontaneously. I like to feel the breeze on my face. Sun on my skin. Ground beneath my body. Soft sounds of nature. All you need while practicing yoga in nature is yourself and the magnificent mother earth

Warrior 1 (Virabhadra 1) on St Francis Bay Dunes: Stretches chest, lungs, shoulders, arms and back muscles. Strengthens all muscles in the legs. A great power, self-confidence and positivity pose.

While traveling with SV Delos, I was fortunate enough to find beauty, balance and bliss on beaches, beneath waterfalls, on sand dunes, in gardens and on the edge of cliffs with active volcanoes in the distance.

Living in a small flat, in a big bustly city, this is not something I get to experience on a day to day basis, and often have to resort to yoga in my lounge. I felt so lucky and appreciative to explore and connect with such diverse surroundings!

Half Lotus (Padmasana) on Port St Francis dock : Calms the mind. Stimulates pelvis, spine, abdomen and bladder. Eases menstrual pain, and frequent practice and can ease a pregnancy and child birth. Stretches ankles and knees.

I would really have liked to have done more yoga during our two week passage from South Africa to La Reunion, I envisioned myself in peaceful half lotus pose on the bow at sunset, being totally at one with the majestic ocean. Unfortunately life had other plans for me, the ocean was extremely rough and I would be tossed from a simple tree pose by every wave that hit the beam. On top of that I was horribly sea sick for almost half of the voyage and my attempts at yoga were little more than a few stretches in my bunk. But on the bright side, this was the perfect time for meditation, having loads of alone time and being surrounded by a rather angry but awe-inspiring ocean. I really enjoyed my time out at sea, having many moments of silent contemplation to myself, but it was a relief to spot land after 15 days out at sea, with on and off nausea hovering over me. It is a lot easier to do yoga with some solid ground beneath your feet.

Side Angle stretch (Utthita Parsva Konasana) on Reunion Island volcanic desert: Improves flexibility and posture. Strengthens back. Stretches front body and legs. (shoes worn as it was extremely sharp lava rocks)

Even though I have been practicing yoga for a few years, I am still very much a beginner. But good things take time, I have no need to rush, I have the rest of my life and I take joy in the smallest progression.

I encourage anyone wanting to start their yogic journey, to go at your own pace and start slowly. Try not to compare yourself to other yogis, there are a lot of crazily flexy and bendy people out there.

Let yourself be enveloped by love and light as you immerse yourself in nature, deepen your stretches and discover new places that bring peace to your soul.

Camel Pose (Ustrasana) under waterfall on La Reunion : Stretches full front body, ankles, thighs, groin and throat. Improves posture. Strengthens back muscles, stomach and next. Great pose when learning to trust yourself in trickier poses.

Never really having been photographed during my practice before, I was a bit skeptical of having a camera on me. I was understandably nervous that it would take away from my breathing and mindfulness. I even considered writing this blog with no attached images. However, Kiril Dobrev (the photographer of all these images), and I worked really together, he would just snap away silently while I did my thing, at times I had no idea he was there. I am really happy with how all the photos turned out, they really show the essence, individualism and simplicity of how I practice yoga, and I would be so happy if they inspire even just one person to step out of the studio from time to time and reconnect with nature through yoga.

Eagle Pose (Garudasana) on a cliff overlooking a volcano on La Reunion: Strengthens ankles and calves. Stretches thighs and hips. Improves concentration and balance.

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