Point to Ponder:
How often do you spend time alone outdoors and in nature?
Despite being raised in a rural community in Texas and surrounded by fields of grass, corn, cotton, wheat and maize, it wasn’t until I attended the University of Texas that I realized my love and deep need for nature. As almost anyone who lives or has lived in Austin experiences, at some point or another, Town Lake (a.k.a. Lade Bird Lake) becomes the treasured best friend who hears our prayers, absorbs our tears, and celebrates our accomplishments. While on my runs, she was always part of the cleansing, healing and restorative process that my body, mind and spirit needed. Not only did my time with her boost my confidence, but spending time in and around always enhanced the clarity of my thoughts and vision. In fact, I never left her without a problem solved and/or solution in hand. And, while I knew how much I loved and needed her, it was until I moved to New York City and didn’t have her at my fingertips that I longed for her.
As the quote in the pictures says, Mother Nature has the power to please, calm, comfort and nurture, and in my opinion, she has infinite healing powers too. I believe we have an intrinsic need for her in our daily lives, which is why when I founded iGnite ten years ago, one of our core principles was outdoor group fitness. Over time, and as a result of wanting to grow with our members and provide optimal class experiences, our outdoor-only model shifted to offering indoor classes as well. This is not to say that we didn’t try offering every possible class outdoors, because we did. This included year round outdoor yoga, Pilates and even dance. For example, through trial and error, we quickly found out that yoga at 6:00 a.m. and in 35 degree temperatures was counterproductive. I should’ve known that the body would have a difficult time loosening up while shivering, and despite wearing layers of clothes, gloves and shoes, not being able to feel your fingers or toes makes balancing and downward dog extremely difficult. Thinking back, it seems completely absurd that I ever thought that yoga under such conditions would work, but we were committed to all that Mother Nature had to offer us. And, while offering year round yoga and some of the other classes in nature isn’t ideal (at least in Austin), Mother Nature never disappointed. She was and is consistently consistent with showing off her magic!
As we continue to celebrate iGnite’s tenth birthday, this week I invite you to celebrate the magic of nature and enjoy her life-giving gifts by spending a minimum of five minutes outdoors everyday, alone, and without any device or technology. Just like taking a screaming baby outside immediately soothes he or she, we are no different. Our time in nature is equivalent to pushing the reset button for our mind and spirit, and whether your time is experiencing a sunrise, sunset, the fall foliage, walking barefoot in grass, sitting near a body of water, hiking in the mountains, listening to the birds or going for a walk or jog, it is all grounding and the perfect solution to a busy mind and unsettled spirit. All in all, it’s a very cheap and simple solution that we all need to include in our daily routines.
Finally, in the event you need more evidence why time in nature is essential, check out scientific proven benefits from an article in Business Insider. I don’t know about you, but I could use some serious short-term memory help!!!
- Improved short-term memory
- Restored mental energy
- Stress relief
- Reduced inflammation
- Better vision
- Improved concentration
- Sharper thinking and creativity
- Possible anti-cancer effects
- Immune system boost
- Improved mental health
- Reduced risk of early death