I was raised in a religious culture where getting married young and starting a family was the most important value. As a result I was married at 21 and had my first child at 23. I was so far from ready for it. To say that I was thrown into adulthood too early is an understatement. Most people spend those years dating and getting to know themselves, but this wasn't the case for me. I never got to have that journey, and bottling up my emotions led to a lot of internal pain. The only time I ever felt truly OK and like I was really connecting with myself was when I was out in nature, riding my mountain bike.
My marriage lasted 10 years, and my two beautiful daughters came out of it, which is something for which I'll be forever grateful. But it was an extremely difficult decade, and if I didn't have the option to hop on my mountain bike and escape into nature, I'm not sure how I would have gotten through it. I would ride my bike out in the desert for six hours, or however long it took to calm down and feel free. Over time, I would become centered again. Looking back, I was undoubtedly a little bit obsessive, but the most important thing that came out of it was that I learned to use nature as a healing strategy.
Yes, nature has been extremely healing for me—and it can be for you, too. Whether you do yoga outside, meditate, ski, hike, bike, or run, all these activities can heal; here's why I believe that.