In 2011 a research team supported by the NIHR Peninsula Collaboration in Leadership for Applied Health Research and Care (PenCLAHRC, part of the NIHR family of health and research initiatives) in collaboration with the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health (ECEHH), analyzed data from a number of sources including 11 randomized and non-randomized control trials incorporating information from 833 adults.
Eligible trials were those that compared the effects of outdoor exercise initiatives with those conducted indoors and which reported at least one physical or mental well-being outcome in adults or children.
The study found that most trials showed an improvement in mental well-being: compared with exercising indoors, exercising in natural environments was associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy, and positive engagement, together with decreases in tension, confusion, anger, and depression. Participants also reported greater enjoyment and satisfaction with outdoor activity and stated that they were more likely to repeat the activity at a later date.
Practicing yoga outdoors has the added benefit of connecting our minds and spirits with the spirit of nature, deepening our experience and perhaps bringing us closer to samadhi (state of oneness with all).