Lotus, crane and crescent moon—ever notice how some yoga poses have a connection to nature? Let’s explore that! Use the sliders to compare each pose with its nature-counterpart.
Thanks to Nadia, Executive Assistant at Wildlands League by day and yoga teacher by night, who graciously shared her expertise. Nadia loves the outdoors, has studied Geography and Environmental Studies and has lived and worked in England and India!
Sitting for long hours at a desk can make anyone trumpet in irritation. Here, Nadia is doing a hip-opening yoga pose in homage to North America’s largest native waterfowl—the trumpeter swan! Out of the three species of swans in Ontario, the trumpeter is the largest—reaching 2 m (6 ft) in length—and the most rare.
The butterfly pose is a hip-stretching, resting pose and mimics the shape of butterfly wings. Here, you can compare it to the eastern black swallowtail butterfly that can be found resting on plants in Ontario. These insects belong to a group of butterflies that have ‘tails’ on their back wings reminiscent of avian swallow tails.
Are you about ready to snap? Nadia’s not, but she’s “gone into her shell” for turtle pose. All of Canada’s eight species of freshwater turtles can be found in Ontario—and the snapping turtle is the largest of them all! These reptiles are of Special Concern in Ontario meaning they may become Endangered. If you see one on the road, don’t pick it up as it can snap defensively. Instead, use a stick to gently encourage them off the road.
The eagle pose is a good test of strength—an attribute shared with the golden eagle, one of the largest and most powerful birds of prey in Ontario. They have a wingspan that can reach over 2 m (7 ft) and are considered endangered in Ontario with around 10-20 pairs that are only known to breed in Hudson Bay within the province.
Here, Nadia is doing a quad-stretching lizard pose to honour the five-lined skink—Ontario’s only native lizard! Pictured is a young five-lined skink with its distinct colouration—they will become more bronze as they age. About the size of an adult human’s hand, the Carolinian population that lives around the southern tip of Ontario is considered endangered in Ontario and Canada.
Dragonfly Twist Pose
We think this dragonfly twist pose looks more like a damselfly! Why? Although damselflies and dragonflies look similar, there are a few ways to tell them apart. Most damselflies hold their wings closed together and have round eyes that protrude from their head. Dragonflies tend to hold their wings down and apart and their eyes lay flat on their head.
Crescent Moon Pose
Do you know all the phases of the moon? This pose is named for the moon’s crescent shape and it requires some serious back flexibility. Many of us are aware of the moon and sun’s gravitational effect on ocean tides, but what about the Great Lakes? Turns out, it does have a tiny effect (<5 cm) but other forces such as wind and pressure overpower them.
What does an orca have to do with a dolphin pose? Orcas or killer whales are the largest member of the oceanic dolphin family (Delphinidae). They have a killer dorsal fin which usually restricts them from navigating under pack ice, but as sea ice melts earlier and forms later, they are increasingly spending time in Hudson Bay. They hunt and eat belugas and narwhals, so their presence can disrupt their prey’s normal behaviours.
Do you see the crane in this arm-balancing pose? Sandhill cranes are native to Ontario, but they nearly went extinct due to hunting in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Thankfully, their populations have been growing steadily and they’re being spotted in large flocks near London, Ontario as they stopover to refuel for their migration south.