Everyone knows that if you want to have a good yoga session, you need a calm and peaceful environment. That’s why most of the yoga studios create a tranquil space, with soft lights and calming music.
The reason for this is to try to recreate the peaceful environment of the great, natural outdoor space. But why should we settle for the imitation, when we can have the real deal? With the beautiful spring weather, going outdoors for yoga practice is just what you need. Leave the studio, and get into nature to clean your body and soul at the same time.
I started going to yoga classes last fall. Since it was cold outside, we always stayed in the studio. The experience was good, but it didn’t feel right since we had AC regulated temperature, scented candles, and music playing on a speaker. With the first week of spring and the arrival of beautiful weather, our teacher decided to take the class in a natural environment.
We went into a local forest and had our class on a meadow that had the most breathtaking view. With the soft breeze, the sound of birds and trees, the fresh, clean air, I had the most amazing and uplifting experience. It was the first time I realized that I truly enjoy yoga.
I realized that practicing yoga in a natural environment has a whole different dimension than practicing it inside. Yoga means “union,” and with practicing it outside, it feels like you create a spiritual connection with nature, a union with the universe.
Whether you practice yoga outside alone or with a teacher, here are few tips that you should have in mind before heading out.
- Do some trial postures. Start the practice with some trial poses, so that you can get used to the environment, and adjust your position to the ground. You can first do an Extended Child’s Pose, followed by a Downward-Facing Dog. This will give you a feel of the space around you, the ground beneath you, and the position of your mat.
- Carry the right supplies. Make sure that you always have enough water for hydration, sunscreen to stay protected from the sun, and maybe an insect repellent. It’s also recommended to carry a towel and an extra pair of clothes, to change after the practice.
- Practice during not cooler hours. Since you might put yourself in the risk of sun damage, try not to practice during midday when the sun is strongest. Any other time of the day works. Go early in the morning to catch the fresh air, or in the evening to watch the peaceful sunset.
Be one with the environment
Being outside and practicing yoga in nature will enhance the experience and will help you with many things, like deep breathing, awareness focus, and stillness practice. Have in mind that nature is your friend, you don’t have to fight it.
The sun will help you with your muscles and deepen your poses, the breeze will help you with your breathing, and the bugs will help you focus on something still and small. It is no wonder how much yoga invites us to be one with nature, and how many asanas stimulate nature and animals.
“By putting your body into the shape of a tree or a stretching cat, by exploring the graceful wingspan of a bird or the fluidity of the Sun Salute, by breathing with the same cyclical sense as the tides or with an ocean sound, you evoke a sense of harmony, timelessness, and connection to the universe,” said Jane Jarecki, a yoga instructor.
To fully experience the beauty of yoga, make sure that you embrace the experience and nature around you. After all, we only get out what we put into things
Using a yoga mat or natural surface
Should you use a yoga mat or practice on the land is a question of personal preferences and the terrain you’re on. Natural surfaces like sand or grass will intensify your yoga postures, and it will build your muscles.
You could practice yoga on sand, grass, or smooth rock without a mat, although it will be harder, you would need one if you practice it in the forest, since there might be branches, pine cones, needles, and stones on the ground.
If you’re used to the flat floor and a yoga mat, it will be hard for you to practice it on a natural ground. But after experiencing it a few times, you will find it becomes a normal and relaxed way to practice yoga.
I, personally, prefer practicing yoga on a natural outdoor surface. It shows me another dimension to yoga, and I feel that I can make a better connection with nature. The mat is something unnatural that we should keep inside the yoga studio. But, you need to do whatever is most comfortable for you so try both with and without.
Free your Spirit
Just being outside allows you to feel more freedom and openness to the natural world. The great combination of yoga practicing and the beautiful outdoor space is an uplifting and enjoyable experience. Forget the hardwood floor, the mirrors, the windows, and designer clothes, and just focus on your body and soul. Make sure that you embrace the open space, free your mind, and let your body connect with nature.
With the beautiful weather outside, now it’s the perfect time to get outdoors and practice yoga. Put on your yoga pants, find the right place, go with your yoga group, friends, or alone and have a great yoga experience.
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