Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose

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Margaret Burns Vap

Bozeman summers are perfect for taking your yoga practice outside. Not only do we have comfy temps, low humidity, and relatively few mosquitoes, you can't beat the inspiring scenery. So mosey your mat over to a spot with a good mountain view and get your yoga on under the Big Sky.

The link between yoga and nature has to do with reconnecting oneself to the natural world. Many yoga poses are inspired by nature, named after animals, flora, and phenomena such as mountains and crescent moons. So it makes sense that being outside can create a stronger connection to these images. Finding that physical expression through the practice of yoga can be as invigorating as a great hike. Yoga also helps cultivate our connection to nature, whether it's practiced outdoors or not.

Yoga provides the tools to do that, by making you more in tune with your inner self. Yoga puts us in touch with lost parts of our being that modern living stifles, and it makes us more receptive to certain experiences. On a yoga and outdoor fitness retreat, for example, one taps into the openness created by our yoga practices to really delve into our time outdoors. Although it's important to emphasize the physical connection between yoga and whatever outdoor activity we're doing-for example, preparing the body for horseback riding with lots of hip-opener poses-it's the emotional and spiritual openness resulting from yoga that can cause someone to burst into tears (usually happy ones) on the hiking trail or in the saddle. Yoga moves things, getting rid of stuff that isn't serving us and making room for new inspirations. You can see this shift when facing the challenges of a hike, such as altitude, fatigue, or not-so-good weather. Instead of panicking or resisting, we're in a better place to meet these challenges and move through them with a feeling of accomplishment.

So do your yoga – inside or out – and savor a new appreciation for the amazing place we call home.

Margaret Burns Vap is the founder of Big Sky Yoga Retreats.

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