No matter your skill level, practicing yoga outdoors is an incredible experience. Now is the perfect time to put yourself out there and give it a try. Unsure about where to start? Here are seven sweet outdoor spots to take sun salutations.
1. The Beach. This is an ideal landscape for yogis because sand is a soft, forgiving surface. You can put your knees down in a lunge or tumble over from a handstand with less stress on your skin and joints. Yoga on the beach can also be an excellent test of your inner transformation—can you be calm with sand all over your legs? Can you find your inner focus with all the sounds and sights that a busy beachfront can bring?
2. The Balcony. Let’s face it, not everyone has a yard or the time to escape somewhere epic. No worries, your patio or balcony will do if you want a little sunshine to go with your sun salutations. Even with limited space, a balcony puts you close to your home so you can set up just how you want. You can have a mug of hot tea, perfect playlist, yoga props and just enough “outside.” Even if you only have five extra minutes in the morning before work, you can get that combination of fitness and calm that only yoga provides.
3. The Backyard. Yes, there is a fabulous space for yoga in between the Slip’N Slide and the doghouse . You can explore your yoga practice alone, enjoying quiet time beneath an open sky, or invite the whole family to downward dog beside you! Proximity to your home will increase the likelihood that you’ll be able to commit to a few moments outside daily, and makes a natural getaway for those moments when the roomie/partner/kids are driving you crazy and you need a little me time. Try designating a yoga area that’s all yours, and feel the wonders that breathing fresh air daily can do.
4. The Park. Another spot that is awesome for yoga is your local park. They can be filled with all kinds of structures to balance or try your aerial yoga moves on, or simply just have large grassy spaces to stretch out. The park also inspires that childlike wonder that can take away the sternness of yoga and replace it with enthusiasm and creativity. If you’re heading to the playground with your kids, it’s a great place to incorporate your youngsters into your practice. I bet that as soon as you start striking a pose, there will be a curious kid or two imitating your moves (or showing you how it’s done!).
5. The Skate Park. If you’re into an adventurous yoga practice, or just looking to spice things up a bit, I highly recommend hitting the local skate park during non-peak hours. Any lover of arm balances will find the smooth, elevated surfaces to be a yogi’s dream. For beginners, rails typically used for grinding can be super useful to hold onto while balancing. The element of height can transform the most menial of poses into challenging tasks, keeping you from getting too bored with your yoga practice.
6. The Trail. As you’re walking along your trail, look for clearings and mix in a few poses. The camouflage of the trees around you can remove a bit of the self-consciousness, and both tree stumps and large rocks provide a natural meditation seat. Go alone or grab your dog, lover or the whole family, and soak up a little nature and exercise on and off the path!
7. The Lake. Water is relaxing, and can easily inspire you to move along with it, opening your body and heart to the great outdoors. Fold your picnic blanket in half to make a thick and comfy yoga mat, and try a few poses in the sunshine. Settle into a dreamy savasana, lying on the soft grass or on a boat with the sounds of the water and birds serenading you. Into SUP? Incorporate a few yoga poses beforehand to stretch, and afterward to relax those sore muscles. Or, if you’re brave, try SUP yoga!
Yoga outside is for everyone outside. There’s always an easy way to include yoga in your outdoor adventures. Just be creative!
Photo credit: Glorychild Productions.