In honor of Earth Month, we caught up with Emily Perry, a Utah-based yoga teacher, who shares 5 ways being in nature has improved her life and her connection with others.
Every favorite memory with my sister involves being outdoors.
Whether we’re skiing, rock climbing, long distance running, floating on a lake, or sleeping under the stars, we always find ourselves doing something, anything that places us in the natural world. Aside from the incredible landscape, fresh air, and the never-ending opportunities for exploration, I find that being outdoors naturally generates a sense of connection with those you are with.
This is one of the most powerful gifts of nature; it brings people together. There is no effort, no agenda, and no need to force the connection to happen; it just happens.
Here are some ideas on why that might be the case:
1 | Less distractions.
If you’re lucky to get out far enough, there is no phone service. This means no calls, texts, emails or social media. Initially, it might be shocking to be so ‘unplugged’, but I assure you, once you’ve gone without it for a couple of hours, it’s like pushing a reset button. When this happens, you suddenly realize that the most important moment is the one you’re in, and the most important thing you can do is be fully present for those you’re with.
2 | Enhanced creativity.
There is no greater inspiration than the beauty of nature. Always changing, nature brings moment by moment splendor. Simply being surrounded by the natural world and all her gifts can help spark your own creativity, and you may suddenly find yourself being more in tune with your own gifts. When you’re out there with someone else, you’ll find that those gifts expand exponentially as you bounce your creativity off each other.
3 | Shared experience.
If there is one thing that affects everyone, it’s our environment. It affects our emotions, mind, and physical body. And when you’re together in nature, it puts everyone on the same page and gives you the opportunity to sync up. You feel the beauty of the sunset together; the power of the river together; the silence in the trees together… these experiences bring you together in a way that opens a gateway for greater connection and understanding.
4 | Increased physical activity.
There is something magic about being outdoors that boosts energy levels. Maybe it’s all that sunshine and fresh air, but it seems to take us back to the crazy energy we had as children. If you’re lucky, you might find yourself running, jumping, skipping, swimming, and having a wonderful time as you explore not only the endless landscape of nature, but also the endless landscape of your own body through movement, freedom and the joy of being at the center of it all.
5 | Connects you to yourself.
Nature has a magic way of connecting you to the most important relationship of your life: the relationship you have with yourself. As it pulls you away from distractions, the heaviness of life begins to slip away, and may even disappear for a short time. It shifts your perspective so that you can see the big picture; the picture that includes spaciousness, breathing room and freedom, and what you may find underneath all that noise, is the essence of you. You have an endless wellspring of peace, joy, creativity and love right in the center of who you really are, and when you can catch a glimpse of it—even if it’s brief—you’ll find a direct pathway for deepening your connection with others.
Photos by Brandon Flint.