Lotus, crane and crescent moon – we explored how some yoga poses have a connection to nature in Part 1. Here is Part 2 with even more nature-yoga inspiration. Use the sliders to compare each pose with its nature-counterpart.
Thanks again 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.
This boat pose requires balance—a trait also required for actual watercraft. The R/V William Kennedy, operated by Arctic Focus is the first research vessel dedicated to exploring James Bay and Hudson Bay. These Arctic regions are among the fastest changing and least studied, yet they are national hotspots for uniquely Canadian wildlife.
Did you know sharks are fish? All sharks, rays, skates and sawfish are fish with skeletons made of cartilage instead of bone. The elusive Greenland shark is the largest fish in the Arctic and has been spotted in Weeneebako (what the Cree call James Bay). Listed as Near Threatened under the IUCN Red List, these cold water sharks have natural anti-freeze in their blood and are currently considered the longest living vertebrates.
Half Moon Pose
Nadia’s doing an impressive balancing pose called the half-moon. While the moon doesn’t physically change, our perception of it does as it revolves around the Earth. Regardless, the gravitational pull of the moon and sun causes ocean tides. Do you know what area hosts the highest tides in the world? The Bay of Fundy!
Sea Star Pose
Feeling like a star today? Try mimicking a sea-star for a quick stretch break, just don’t attempt to mimic how they feed at your next snack break. The common sea star can be found in James Bay (which borders Northern Ontario and Quebec) and like other sea stars, feed by ejecting their stomach from their mouth opening to digest their prey.
Baby Seal Pose
Have you ever chilled out in this back-bending baby seal pose? It’s a luxury not often granted to actual baby bearded seals who are preyed on by polar bears. Baby bearded seals grow up to be the largest seals in the Arctic, but they need to do so quickly to avoid becoming a meal. Within 1 week of birth, a pup can dive as deep as a 18-story building and they can fend for themselves by 3 weeks!
This seated pose is often used to support meditation and requires a straight spine. Likewise, lotus flowers bud from straight stems that emerge out of the mud and can be a symbol of enlightenment. Ontario is home to Canada’s only native lotus, the American lotus and it was featured on Canada Post’s annual flower stamp in 2018.
If you want to level-up your frog pose, try mimicking a loose banjo string by saying “GUNK-gunk-gunk”. The call of the green frog, common in southern Ontario is unique and it signals that summer has arrived. To identify one, look for their eardrums—the distinct circular patches behind their eyes.
If this back-bender makes you picture seals in the Arctic, chances are, you are thinking of ringed seals. Ringed seals, named for the ring patterns of their fur are the smallest, yet most common arctic seal found off the coast of northern Ontario in Weeneebako (the Cree word for James Bay).
Clams and mussels are usually associated with the ocean, but there are many species of freshwater clams and mussels in Ontario. These seemingly unassuming animals are important players in the lake ecosystem where they filter the water, yet they are sensitive to pollution. In Ontario, five of around forty species are at risk of extinction.
On hot days in the summer, trees provide welcome relief from the sun by providing shade. They also lend their name to this balancing yoga pose. Can you see the trunk and branches? Trees are important for many reasons. They store carbon dioxide, filter the air, help conserve energy use, reduce stress levels and much more. One study in Toronto found that residents that had more or larger trees lining their street felt younger and healthier.