Get lost in nature and you will find yourself” 

- unknown

Most of us modern yogis and productive members of society live in a constant non-stop, busy, and a task-focused world where we spend most of our time indoors surrounded by smartphones, computer screens, electronic gadgets, and artificial light. 

We’ve created many wonderful and useful things, projects, and businesses but it has come at a cost. 

We’re now more disconnected than ever from Mother Nature. 

Ancient yogis and many other wise groups and cultures like the Native American tribes of North America have always known that when human beings become disconnected from nature we suffer. 

We may have more resources, information, and supplies at our fingertips than ever before, but it’s also true that we are increasingly sick, fatigued, depressed, anxious, and unfulfilled. 

Is this mental and physical health crisis a coincidence? 

Thanks to growing research and scientific studies it’s becoming increasingly clear that it is no coincidence at all. 

This health crisis is an opportunity for us to return back to our roots - to return back to Nature in order to reset and heal. 

Practicing yoga outside in nature is the perfect antidote to feeling sick, unwell, tired, anxious, depressed, or frustrated because it helps to restore harmony in the body. 

Yoga in nature helps us experience union with our environment

The overall objective of true yoga practice is to experience unity and connection in ourselves and our bodies first and foremost and then with the external world around us. 

Embodying yoga in nature helps us to re-establish this union and connection with our environment. 

Practicing outside in nature, especially surrounded by trees or in a forest, can help you become more still, calmer, more present, and more aware. 

It heightens your senses and self-awareness. 

It helps you feel more connected to your body, your senses, and your breath. 

As above, so below

Yogis believe in the phrase: “As above so below.” 

This describes our relationship and connection with the heavens, universe, cosmos, etc. and also our connection to Mother Earth. 

The forces above elevate us and our consciousness, and the forces below keep us grounded and balanced. 

As Above: Increased Prana & Vitamin D

Yoga in nature connects us to the sky, the air element, and to the sun’s life-giving energy. 

Sun energy is a major component of yoga practice because it’s regarded as a major source of prana (vital energy). 

Prana is the invisible life force that flows through our body’s channels (nadis) and energy centers (chakras). 

When prana flows freely and without blockage, we experience optimal physical, mental, and emotional health and wellness. 

Blockages and low flow currents of prana create dis-ease and dis-comfort in our body, mind, and moods. 

Yogis created an entire sequence of postures to honor and acknowledge the sun called Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar). 

Practicing a few rounds of Sun Salutations in nature builds heat in the body (Tapas), and helps to create healthy energy flow and a fresh infusion of prana (vital energy).

Luckily science has caught up to ancient yogic wisdom. 

Multiple studies have shown that Vitamin D, the only vitamin our skin produces in response to the sun’s rays, is crucial to our physical and mental health and well-being. 

About half of the global population experiences low Vitamin D levels. (1) 

Low Vitamin D levels are linked to: 

Having a regular yoga practice in nature can help your body produce more Vitamin D, although you may still need additional supplementation. 

Optimal Vitamin D levels help the body become stronger and more resilient: 

As Below: More Grounding (Earthing) & Prana

Practicing yoga in nature, especially on bare feet helps the body to connect with the Earth’s healing frequency. 

Since we spend so much time indoors we don’t take advantage of this simple yet powerful opportunity to strengthen our bodies and minds. 

Research says that the act of placing your bare feet on the ground helps you to absorb the Earth’s electrons and balancing electromagnetic energy. 

You become like a sponge soaking it all up, and this translates to the following benefits: (2) (3) 

Science says this is what forest bathing & yoga can do to your body: 

In 1982 Japan launched a national health program centered around forest bathing or what they called ‘Shinrin-Yoku” (taking in the forest atmosphere). 

Since then, they’ve been researching the mental and physical health benefits of soaking in nature and forest energy in particular. 

Studies have shown that spending time amongst trees and greenery is not only great for our mental health, it also causes a major boost in our immune system.

Forest bathing can increase the count of natural killer cells (NK) in the body. (4)

These cells are essential for immunity and help prevent infections from progressing. 

Breathing in forest air and mindfully visiting amongst the trees has also shown to lower stress hormones such as cortisol. (5) 

Since yoga practice merges mindfulness with movement and breathwork, it is the perfect adjunct to forest bathing. 

A regular practice in nature can really serve as preventative medicine. 


References: 

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25848315

(3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3265077/

(4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793341/

(5) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19568835

National and State Parks

Some of the world's best hiking trails are located in the red rock country of southern Utah. Click on each locations title to be taken to a new page with more information, of just click on the driving directions if you simply want to know how to get there.

 

Bryce Canyon National Park
Drive Time: 2.5 hours / Distance: 150 miles
For driving directions, click HERE

There is no place quite like Bryce Canyon. Hoodoos (odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion) can be found on every continent, but here is the archetypal "hoodoo-iferous" terrain. Descriptions fail. Cave without a roof? Forest of stone?

Capitol Reef National Park
Drive Time: 4 hours / Distance: 240 miles
For driving directions, click HERE

Located in south-central Utah in the heart of red rock country, Capitol Reef National Park is a hidden treasure filled with cliffs, canyons, domes and bridges in the Waterpocket Fold, a geologic monocline (a wrinkle on the earth) extending almost 100 miles.

Cedar Breaks National Monument
Drive Time: 1.5 hours / Distance: 80 miles
For driving directions, click HERE

Discover one of America's most special parks: look down into a half-mile deep geologic amphitheater; wander among timeless bristlecone pines; stand in lush meadows of wildflowers; ponder crystal-clear night skies; and experience the richness of the subalpine forest.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes
Drive Time: 2 hours / Distance: 70 miles
For driving directions, click HERE

Coral Pink Sand Dunes is a Utah State Park near Kanab which is east of St. George. The sand dunes are formed by rust colored sand and accented by desert shrubs and plants.

Escalante Petrified Forest State Park
Drive Time: 3 hours / Distance: 190 miles
For driving directions, click HERE

Camp along the shores of Wide Hollow Reservoir, or rent a canoe and paddle on its clear waters. Hike along park nature trails through a petrified forest, but remember to take only photographs. Some say the petrified wood is haunted and removing a piece brings the taker nothing but bad luck.

Frontier Homestead State Park Museum
Drive Time: 1 hours / Distance: 60 miles
For driving directions, click HERE

Iron Mission State Park has been renamed and is now called Frontier Homestead State Park Museum. The museum tells the story of development in Iron County when, in the 1850s, Brigham Young sent Mormon missionaries there to mine iron. 

Glitter Mountain
Drive Time: 33 minutes / Distance: 19 miles
For driving directions, click HERE

Whether you call it Sparkle Mountain, Glitter Mountain, the Glitter Pit or simply a brilliant find, you are probably talking about the same place. Though it may appear to be a hill of broken glass, Sparkle Mountain is a mineral deposit.

Grand Canyon - North Rim
Drive Time: 2 hours / Distance: 110 miles
For driving directions, click HERE

A good portion of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is actually in Utah. Since it is harder to access than the typical tourist sites, it is a great place to admire the beauty of the area without the crowds.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park
Drive Time: 1.5 hours / Distance: 86 miles
For driving directions, click HERE

The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument near Escalante along Scenic Byway 12 is a relatively new area designated as a national monument. It features cliffs that appear as a stairs as they descend as well as beautiful slot canyons.

Kanarraville Falls
Drive Time: 1 hour / Distance: 48 miles
For driving directions, click HERE

Kanarraville Falls is great for those visiting Southern Utah in quest of a perfect multi-hued, twisting and turning slot canyon to photograph. Those without the time, skills or equipment to descend the more technical (advanced) slivers carved by wind, water and time, Kanarra Creek is the right destination.

Kodachrome Basin State Park
Drive Time: 3 hours / Distance: 170 miles
For driving directions, click HERE

Kodachrome Basin State Park is near Bryce Canyon National Park and is best know for its petrified geysers that were preserved as they blasted through layers of sediment and were filled up again by rock while the surrounding material eroded away. The National Geographic Society helped give the area the name of Kodachrome because it felt that it is a gorgeous area.

Kolob Canyon
Drive Time: 2 hours / Distance: 65 miles
For driving directions, click HERE

Kolob Canyon is the western canyon of Zion National Park; it is accessed by Interstate 15 north of St. George. Wondrous rock hoodoos with whimsical shapes are found throughout this beautiful canyon.

Pipe Springs National Monument
Drive Time: 1.5 hours / Distance: 66 miles
For driving directions, click HERE

Pipe Springs National Monument is in Arizona. It mainly commemorates the history of Ancestral Puebloans and Kaibab Paiute Indians along with some Mormon pioneer history since these groups had significant influence on the development of the area.

Snow Canyon State Park
Drive Time: 20 minutes / Distance: 10 miles
For driving directions, click HERE

Explore the trails and dunes of beautiful Snow Canyon on foot, bike, and horseback. Camp in the peaceful campground surrounded by ancient lava flows and red Navajo sandstone. Discover the secrets of the desert landscape through seasonal nature programs.

Zion National Park
Drive Time: 1 hour / Distance: 46 miles
For driving directions, click HERE

Zion National Park is northeast of St. George. The entrances to Zion Canyon near Springdale and Kolob Canyon on Interstate 15 are both between 45 minutes to an hour away from the city. The national park is one of the top ten most visited in the National Park Service system since about 3 million people visit it annually.

This photo was taken on the Observation Point Hike for any guest that would like to see this exact view.

Local National Parks

Green Valley Spa is the perfect base camp for exploring America's Grand Circle of scenic wonders and National Parks. Three of Americas most spectacular parks are within driving distance of St. George: Zion National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Bryce National Park.

Zion National Park

Utah's first National Park. Massive canyon walls ascend toward a brilliant blue sky. To experience Zion, you need to walk among the towering cliffs, or challenge your courage in a small narrow canyon. These unique sandstone cliffs range in color from cream, to pink, to red. They could be described as sand castles crowning desert canyons. Zion's unique geographic location and variety of life zones combine to create a variety of habitats for a surprising array of plant and animal species. Located on the Colorado Plateau, but bordering the Great Basin and Mojave Desert Provinces, Zion is home to plants from each region. The park is characterized by high plateaus, a maze of narrow, deep sandstone canyons and striking rock towers and mesas. (35 minute drive from Green Valley Spa).

Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is considered one of the natural wonders of the world largely because of its natural features. The exposed geologic strata - layer upon layer from the basement Vishnu schist to the capping Kaibab limestone - rise over a mile above the river, representing one of the most complete records of geological history that can be seen anywhere in the world. Geologic formations such as gneiss and schist found at the bottom of the Canyon date back 1,800 million years. This geologic incline creates a diversity of biotic communities, and five of the seven life zones are present in the park. (2 hour 45 mintue drive from Green Valley Spa).

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is a scientist's laboratory and a child's playground. Because Bryce transcends 2000 feet (650 m) of elevation, the park exists in three distinct climatic zones: spruce/fir forest, Ponderosa Pine forest, and Pinyon Pine/juniper forest. This diversity of habitat provides for high biodiversity. Here at Bryce, you can enjoy over 100 species of birds, dozens of mammals, and more than a thousand plant species. It is the uniqueness of the rocks that caused Bryce Canyon to be designated as a national park--these famous spires, called "hoodoos," (1 hour 45 mintues from Green Valley Spa).

----

Local Recreation

Mild winter temperatures and hundreds of square miles of scenic wilderness have made southern Utah a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts. With a variety of sports and activiies, besides those offered by Green Valley Spa, there is something to satisfy every age and passion.

GOLF

In proportion to its population, the St. George area offers more golf than any other place in Utah. This sun-drenched oasis offers 13 challenging courses with inspiring vistas, warm year-round temperatures and some of the finest course designs in the Sunbelt. Green Valley Spa can help you with tee times and course recommendations.

FISHING

There are numerous lakes and streams in Washington County. From low desert to high mountains you'll find bass, trout and other fishing is excellent. Water sources from Zion National Park and the 10,000 foot high Pine Valley Mountain bring streams filled with trout to reservoirs such as Gunlock, Baker, Quail Creek, Sand Hollow, Kolob and others. Bring your boat, float tubes, or fish from the shore and you'll find plenty of good angling throughout the county.

HORSEBACK RIDING

Hundreds of miles of trails through scenic redrock mountains and valleys make horseback riding in southern Utah a one of a kind experience.

----

NATIONAL PARK TOURING

We take you on a daily tour of the National and State parks that are legendary sites of mystical beauty.

Grand Canyon N.P.

Bryce Canyon N.P.

Zion N.P.

The Zion National Park Tour is included in the Ultimate Spa Program. Fee applies with other programs.

----