If you are like most yogis, you are used to practicing yoga in a studio, gym, or at home. Regardless of where exactly your usual place is, it is most likely indoors. But if you’re among those who are fortunate enough to have attended an outdoor yoga class or had a solo session under the sun, you know what a special experience it is. Sure it’s nice to have a controlled environment with props at your fingertips, mood lighting, planned scents and regulated temperature. However, outdoor yoga offers a true sense of freedom to your practice.
Imagine being free of confining walls and manufactured air. Breathing in fresh air when you take deep breaths and begin your pranayama breathing. Smelling those natural aromas of your surroundings; whether it’s trees, flowers, dirt, or ocean. Feeling the wind at your back; a breeze that seems to go right through you. Being aware of the ground, the earth, not floor, beneath your feet, whether it’s grass, dirt, or sand.
Does that paint enough of a picture for you? For you seasoned outdoor yogis, hopefully this reminds you of your own experiences. As for the newbies, perhaps this entices you into trying to practice yoga outside! No matter where you are on the spectrum, here are some great tips and ideas for preparing your own alfresco yoga experience:
One of the wonders of nature is that it is unpredictable, despite what the forecast may say. Trying to find a so-called “perfect” weather day to schedule your outdoor yoga session is easier said than done. Don’t worry about the day being perfect or beautiful, try and find beauty in whatever is going on outside. That being said, make sure you’re being safe. You won’t want to be caught in a severe thunderstorm, or worse! Bring rain-friendly gear if there’s a chance of showers and dress in layers in case your “perfect” 65 degree day suddenly feels more like 85!
Finding the Perfect Spot
If you are venturing out on your own for a private session or with a small group, find a spot that feels right to YOU. Sure the beach may sound like a great idea, but maybe you’re more of a deep woods kind of person. Wherever you find peace and a sense of oneness with the earth is where you want to be. However, it’s important to be practical as well! Be sure you have enough flat space to practice. Don’t risk injury or incorrect positioning just for a seemingly ideal spot. It also goes without saying that you should have permission to use the area of land you decide on. That is, use only public parks or land that you have access to.
Live in the Moment
Oftentimes, yoga classes just become part of our routine and we lose sight in the true meaning of it all. Practicing outdoors can help you get back in touch with why you do yoga and resurrect the depth of the experience. Being at one with nature is one of the most important teachings of yoga and something that can be hard to really, truly feel when you are practicing indoors. Being out in the elements, under the sun and the clouds, among other living things, plants and animals, will bring you back to this idea. You will undoubtedly feel a oneness with nature, and the universe as a whole. Don’t think of this experience as just another class. Treat it as a unique opportunity to get down and dirty with the earth and your place and role within it.
Yogasync me! A Sun Salutation is the perfect asana to perform outside. Keep this sync in mind when you try your own outdoor practice!