Why does outdoor yoga support wellbeing?
There are four major reasons to take your yoga practice outdoors:
- Bringing playfulness and lightness into your yoga practice
- Broadening your perspective and improving your focus
- Feeling more grounded in a natural environment
- Saluting the sun under the big open sky.
Bringing playfulness and lightness into your yoga practice
As soon as I take my practice outdoors, the child in me shows up. I welcome her – she’s fun. She reminds me that I don’t have to be so earnest in my practice – that is it just that – a practice. I can take my yoga practice anywhere and everywhere I go. When I’m preparing for a Parkrun, you can usually find me on the forest edge enjoying a few sun salutations as a warm up. When I’m on the beach, I love to balance on the rippled sands and in the forest I clamber on logs to do tree pose!
All this movement outdoors increases your sense of proprioception – how your body moves in space – which improves your balance and reduces the risk of injury.
Broadening your perspective & improving your focus
It’s relatively easy to practice in a yoga studio or home yoga space. The focus is very much on you and your mat. Take your practice outdoors and you may find you feel small and insignificant in such a big open space. You’ll have to deal with the weather, other people, animals, smells and so much more and still keep your focus on your practice.
This helps you better manage distractions and develop unwavering focus. These are all skills that will benefit you in everyday life: whatever you learn on the mat you take with you off the mat.
Feeling more grounded in a natural environment
Whether you’re practising with bare feet on the beach or on your mat in garden, forest or field, feeling the Earth under your feet helps you to get truly grounded. We are part of this planet’s eco-system so being able to take up our natural place here reinforces our connection to this shared earth.
Natures soothes, restores and heals you – it has a huge beneficial impact on your wellbeing. Spending time in nature allows you to disconnect your thinking mind and give space to your five senses.
Saluting the sun under the big sky
As a yoga teacher, inviting my outdoor yoga students to ‘reach for the sky’ or ‘raise their face to the sun’ during a Sun Salutation is a joy. In winter, when we’re back in our yoga studios, it’s good to draw on the positive memories of warm weather and outdoor our practice.
I love to teach Earth Salutation whether indoors or out, but it has special poignancy when we practice it outdoors – firmly grounded on Mother Earth.
Make space for some outdoor yoga practice while the summer months last. It can be an impromptu session – some poses, a few rounds of a salutation or just a seated meditation in nature.
Join MindSteadyGo’s local Outdoor Yoga Classes in Heacham, Norfolk
Every Tuesday and Thursday evenings until September 29th 2022, I will be running Outdoor Yoga Classes in a nature reserve in Heacham, Norfolk. After 40 minutes of hatha yoga in the nature reserve, we walk over to Heacham North Beach sea wall for some breathwork and meditation. The classes are open to all levels – more information here.
Join me for Go With The Flow SUP + Yoga + Breath to take your outdoor yoga practice to another level! I have teamed up with Annalisa Dovey from Brancaster Boards and we are running Dawn & Sunset Stand Up Paddle + Yoga & Breath sessions until the end of September 2022.