The Spring Equinox is when the sun is exactly above the equator and is on its way to moving North (as compared to the Autumnal Equinox, when the sun is moving South). After this point, those of us in the Northern hemisphere experience the tilt toward the sun as our days get longer.
Celebrating the Equinox is one way of connecting with the rhythms of our environment. This can be especially helpful for those of us who are living in urban areas, spending much of our day indoors. Our yoga practice helps us to develop an awareness of our inner environment, as well as our outer environment. The relationship between our well-being and nature is a long established one.
The book ‘Forest Bathing: How Trees Can Help You Find Health and Happiness’, (written by Qing Li, a physician and researcher in Japan), describes the positive impact of forests on health and well-being. One such example of this includes a small scale study Li conducted to examine the impact of ‘forest bathing’ on the sleep patterns of individuals in highly stressful jobs in Japan. The study participants did not vary their usual amount of physical activity (e.g. they walked as much as they usually did in their daily lives in urban settings). The factor that was different was location. After walking in a forest, they were significantly less anxious and had better quality sleep.
Forest bathing involves simple steps such as: engaging all of your senses; take your time (no need to hurry); try activities in addition to walking (do some yoga in the woods); and appreciate the silence. Spend some time in nature amongst the trees and enjoy the Equinox!