Yoga in the Garden Improves Your Work-Life Balance

Are you lucky enough to work outside in the sunshine and fresh air? Unfortunately, most likely you don’t have this luxury. Like millions of people around the world, you are probably spending most of your day indoors, which influences your physical and mental health.

Stress and anxiety have become a big part of our daily life causing tiredness, lack of concentration, worry, sadness and in some cases, depression.

How to Calm Your Mind and Release Stress

One answer to stress is yoga. Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years, and some doctors now recommend yoga to their patients. For example, the renowned MD Anderson Cancer Center now offers yoga at its Integrative Medicine Center.  Dr. Lorenzo Cohen conducted research  found that patients in the group assigned to practice yoga reported better quality of life and reduced fatigue.

Many scientifically valid studies show that mindful yogic breathing can improve the body’s response to stress. One study published by the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons showed that yoga can alleviate stress, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress and many stress-related illnesses. The yoga breathing patterns actually reduced the levels of cortisol and other stress responses. When confronted with stressful situations in life, mindful breathing can help you to control your body’s response. Yoga and mindful breathing will focus your attention on your current surroundings, release the stress of a hectic workday and help you to attain better work-life balance.

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing and mindful meditation. It can help to reduce stress and lower blood pressure and heart rate. There are a variety of yoga styles-–everything from gentle chair yoga to Bikram (hot) yoga to Vinyasa (power yoga). Anyone can practice yoga and incorporate a contemplative, spiritual practice into daily life to reap the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits that yoga offers, especially when practiced in a garden.

Additional Benefits of Yoga in the Garden

There are many advantages to taking your yoga and contemplative meditation routine outside into a space like your backyard garden. Research from the American Psychological Association shows that simply by moving outside and engaging in some nature therapy, you will become refreshed more quickly.

Being in nature improves concentration and reduces stress. The simple act of spending time in your garden can improve your performance at work and will give you lasting energy throughout the day.

Doing yoga in a garden unblocks the flow of your mental energy. This will unleash your inner creativity and enthusiasm to continue with your practice. It is a very healthy habit to incorporate into your life.

In today’s world, work tends to follow us even when we’re at home. We constantly check our email and respond to texts rather than focusing on our current surroundings. The result is ever-mounting stress and a lack of enjoyment in our personal lives.

By doing yoga outside, you combine the health benefits of yoga and nature, two potent forces for improving mindfulness and relieving stress. The beneficial effects of taking your yoga practice to the garden will help you focus on your job while you’re working and on your personal life when you’re not.

Physical Benefits to Yoga and Mindful Gardening

Performing yoga in a garden will improve your work-life balance by improving mindfulness. While working, your attention stays on work rather than wandering to home tasks. When not at work, you can more easily leave the stress of your job behind and enjoy your time away. You will feel greater enthusiasm for all parts of your life when you are better able to focus.

  •  Working on a computer or spending excessive time under harsh indoor lighting is bad for your eyes and your body. People forget to move—even to blink—while using a screen. A few minutes outside in natural light can help reduce eye and nervous system fatigue.
  • Being outdoors allows your body to generate vitamin D from sunlight. Just a few minutes of sun on your hands or face is all it takes to improve your vitamin D levels. After that, be sure to use sunscreen.
  • Practicing yogic breathing techniques in the fresh air, perhaps enjoying the scent of flowers from the nearby garden, helps reduce stress and is a pleasant and productive way to continue your yoga practice.
  • Mindfulness means to focus on the moment. When doing yoga in the garden, you concentrate on the feeling of your body in the pose, the sunlight on your back and the scent of the earth and the growing things around you. When you have finished your practice, the day’s tensions will no longer seem so daunting. You will be better prepared to address challenges, whether caused by your job or a personal issue.

The Mental Benefits of Outdoor Mindfulness

To achieve a higher spiritual practice, consider bringing yoga into your backyard garden or any comfortable outdoor space. Moving outside from a static, climate controlled building will quiet and reset your mind. After practicing yoga, you will enjoy the feeling of peace and serenity. You will also find you have:

  • Reduced heart rate
  • Improved concentration and ability to focus
  • Increased flexibility
  • Better balance
  • Less stress
When outside you are in an ever-changing environment that will stimulate your mind and deeply enrich your enjoyment of life. The changing of the seasons, the weather, even the birds flying by are always different, allowing you to enjoy the beauty and variety of nature as you work on your yoga practice.

Your physical and mental health will improve with your outdoor yoga practice, and you will find that you can concentrate better on the situation in front of you, whether that is work or personal. As a result, you will find that you are able to accomplish more at work and then leave the stress of your job behind at the end of the day. With a clear focus, you can now put your attention on the rest of your life and enjoy it to the fullest.

© Rita Perea, 2016

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