I had been practicing yoga in studios or my living room for about 15 years before I started doing yoga in the outdoors. When I did start practicing yoga outside, I wondered why I hadn’t done it sooner. The effects of being in nature as I flowed through my Vinyasa, elevated my practice both physically and mentally.
#1 Reason to Practice Yoga Outside: Nature
Often in yoga studios there is an attempt to recreate nature inside. Through the use of incense, nature sounds, and even breeze machines the instructor tries to connect you with nature and your body. Practicing in nature precludes the need for any of these artificial means.
#2 Reason to Practice Yoga Outside: Experiencing life with your whole-body
During the warmer months when the sun is beating down, I love the feeling of the heat on my skin, facing to the sun and letting the rays penetrate. A balmy breeze comes off the water, gently moving through my hair and across my cheek. The experience reminds me of my childhood, a simpler time in my life when time seemed to literally stand still, when I was less in my head and thoughts and more in my body and experiencing life with my whole-body.
Pranayama, the practice of life breath, with the sounds of the sea lapping against the rocky coast is trans-formative.
#3 Reason to Practice Yoga Outside: Winter Outdoor Yoga
The rugged terrain, ice, snow and other physical challenges are a perfect metaphor for life. Staying flexible, calm and centered despite a ‘rocky road’ are all lessons I have learned. You also have to let the idea of perfection go when practicing outside in the winter.
#4 Reason to Practice Yoga Outside: Time Windfall
I have always felt most at home in nature and make getting outside a priority of each day. I used to keep my yoga practice and my nature practice separate as if they couldn’t go hand in hand. Keeping them separate actually made it difficult to work both activities into each day. Like you I have a job, family and community to care for and there are only so many hours in a day, so it was like a time windfall when I finally came to the conclusion that my two favorite activities could go together.
Outdoor yoga not only challenges my balance and core strength, but also elevates my meditation and mind-body connection. Whether the outdoors is warm and sunny, windy and cool, or snowy and cold; connecting with nature and the elements helps to create calm both physically and mentally. The life lessons I have learned through my outdoor yoga practice has been invaluable.
Get started with your outdoor yoga practice today.
You don’t need special gear or even a yoga mat to practice outside. I do recommend layers of comfortable clothing during the colder months, peel off layers as you warm up your body and put them back on as soon as you finish your practice.
You may have a favorite flow that you already know or Yoga Journal has sequences to meet your needs or you can build your own.
Still intimidated by the idea of practicing yoga outdoors? Join me for one of my day retreats, I will guide you through a day of yoga and pranayama by the sea that will leave you transformed.
Tara Hire is a wellness professional who specializes in yoga, nutrition and lifestyle design. She lives on Monhegan island off the rocky coast of Maine. She is the go-to-person for wellness work on-island as well as a wealth of knowledge about fun things to do on the island, in all seasons. She runs Day retreats out on the island that sound REALLY FUN! You can learn more at her website: http://monheganwellness.com/