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Tips for Taking Yoga Outdoors

June 10, 2011
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Expand your horizons by practicing yoga outdoors.

Now that we’ve entered the season of longer days and warmer weather, it’s high time to expand our yoga practice by occasionally taking it beyond the classroom and into the great outdoors. Doing yoga en plein air can cultivate a greater sense of presence and awareness; it’ll also inspire you, energize you, and give you the chance to reconnect with nature in a meaningful way.

A great way to open up the possibility of sneaking in a few asanas outdoors is to keep a yoga mat in the back of your car, or near your door where you can grab it at a moment’s notice. But don’t feel like you have to head far to access your outdoor om; even just stepping out on your porch or lawn for a few minutes of stretching or quiet seated meditation can help you breathe easier and give you a moment to appreciate the outdoors.

Ready to take it outside? Here’s a few tips:

If you have allergies, wait until the afternoon. Allergens like mold and pollen are highest in the morning during spring time.

Seek shade. Sun salutations, yes. Sunburn, no. As tempting as it may be to soak up some rays during Shivasana, you don’t want to expose yourself to harsh, harmful sunlight. Avoid practicing in full sun during the parts of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest (10 a.m. and 4 p.m.).

Go slower. There are so many more variables outside the controlled environment of a classroom: temperature, wind, distracting sounds, unevenness of the ground. You may find that certain poses are more difficult, or you lose your balance more easily. That’s okay! Move slowly and purposefully with the rhythm of your breath, concentrating on correct form.

Be present. Feel the breeze on your skin. Gaze up and take in the color of the sky. Watch the clouds or leaves moving overhead. Wiggle your toes in the grass. Breathe.

Be inspired. If you have the time, pick a spot that speaks to you: near water, under your favorite tree, etc. Before starting your practice, take a moment to stand in Mountain Pose and ground yourself in this location. Draw strength and energy up from the earth through your feet; feel the increase in your connection to your surroundings.

Have fun! Think of all the yoga poses that get their names from nature: Tree, Frog, Mountain, Lotus, Crow… Let your surroundings speak to you; allow the beautiful unpredictability of nature to inspire a new practice or freshen your tried-and-true routine.

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. suzy permalink
    June 11, 2011 8:55 pm

    I planted my garden last week-end. I found myself early in the AM on my mat between the flowers and the veggies….. As the big orange ball came up in the east I felt so blessed.

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