Ann Green started her journey of yoga when she was only 8 or 9 years old at the public Library in a northern Canadian community. As a young person practicing yoga on her own, Ann was able to find freedom.
“Yoga was an incredibly liberating space for me where I felt free. I get along with everybody, but I really think I’ve always been my own best friend.”
At the same time, growing up Ann found a certain freedom and connection in nature as well. She says her father encouraged daily hikes and connection to the outdoors. Ann says she was the type of kid who would stay out way after the outdoor light was turned on.
The peace Ann connects to in nature and the peace she connects to in her yoga practice continue to be a guiding force in her life.
“That’s exactly what yoga is, it’s the connection to all kinds of environments… That yoga mat is an extension of your true nature. My nature is my yoga nature, there is no difference.”
Ann has a very strong connection to her inner self, and that inner self is drawn to the natural environment. Ann says even when we are inside we are still a part of the universe around us – which is much bigger than ourselves.
Naturally, Ann’s connection to nature and yoga is frequently combined. She appreciates when the lake thaws at her home in Barrie so she can practice SUP Yoga. Ann says she has been practicing and teaching SUP yoga for a long time in Barrie.
“I just really truly believe it’s an amazing sense to have a mindfulness practice and a yoga practice. You are becoming closer to who you are. Make that mat a SUP board on water and you grow this huge new understanding.”
Ann notes the playfulness that comes along with hopping on a board in the water. For the most part you are at the mercy of mother nature as she sends unpredictable wind and waves your way. Ann says people find connection to themselves and eventually nature as well.
“It works because you can’t let your mind ramble. You’ve got to focus on staying on the board. On being fully present.”
“[Yoga on the Water] is a fully beautiful reminder to listen…If we all listened a little more, starting with ourselves, we put a spiritual intelligence forward in our next action.”
While SUP Yoga in the warmth and breeze of northern Canada is sure to bring nature to your practice, for almost 8 months, northern yoga communities mostly need to practice indoors. Ann brings Surfset, which you can demo at the conference, that allows people to experience SUP yoga year round in the comfort of a studio.
For Ann, the Winter season doesn’t mean you should lose your connection to nature. And it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate the natural environment in your yoga class.
“Whenever people come to a yoga class with me they’re encouraged to bring something from the natural world… It reminds us that we’re deeply connected in nature. Reminds us to love and release. I find looking at nature and diving deep into nature brings clarity.”
Ann creates a “nature appreciation station” or altar for people to display and appreciate their natural objects. Her classes at the yoga conference this year will feature guided meditations with natural objects to connect you with Mother Earth.
“You’re going to a guided meditation by holding a rock or looking and the veins at the leaf. You’re really fused with Adya.”
Ann is hoping to help others find their true connection to their inner life, or what she calls TrueNorthness in a two-hour workshop. Ann says the goal is to give people lessons they can take off the mat. Her workshops include journalling and inner work so you can find an equally strong connection to something bigger than yourself.
Ann has three workshops from March 30 to April 2 at the conference this year. Registration is still open! You can also hop on an indoor SUP Board with Ann’s Surfset team from Friday March 31 to April 2. Remember to bring some nature and come out to connect!