Being outside adds a beautiful element to any yoga practice, but is definitely a different experience from what you would have in a studio or gym. According to the Mayo Clinic, sunshine contributes to Vitamin D production, which strengthens bones and protects against high blood pressure. Yoga studios are traditionally taught on bamboo or other wood floors that have some give so that your joints get some reprieve from pressing down into the ground. Here are a few ways to enjoy yoga outdoors in a new setting.
YOGA ON GRASS
Yoga on grass can be done with or without a mat. Check the area to make sure you’re not competing for space with any insects, animals, or their trails before you start. Consider wearing bug spray or essential oils that ward off mosquitos (like eucalyptus, tea tree, or peppermint) because as you sweat you’ll be more attractive to them.
YOGA AT THE BEACH
Ujjayi breath is often described as having the sound of ocean waves, so what better way to remind you of your yogic breath than to be beside the ocean? When practicing at the beach, sand is malleable and can create uneven surfaces beneath your feet so be sure to smooth out a spot on the sand first. Consider laying a beach towel down under your yoga mat to add another layer of solid surface and to keep sand from ruining the bottom of your mat.
YOGA ON CEMENT
For many years I taught an outdoor yoga class underneath a gazebo that overlooked a golf course. It was picturesque, but the cement floor was unforgiving under knees and hands. Your best accessory for an outdoor yoga in a situation like this is a thickly padded yoga mat (or doubling up on two thinner mats) to give you greater cushioning.
Know that when you’re out in the elements there are new distractions that will challenge you to truly focus on just yourself and your mat (such as people walking by, sounds of talking, animals, or even gusts of wind). Regardless of where you are outdoors, some final tips to help you enjoy a practice under the sun:
- Wear sunblock
- Have your back or profile to the sun so you aren’t squinting the whole time
- Bring water
- Invite a friend to join you!