How to do yoga outside

yoga outside

Taking yoga outside can give us a greater sense of connection to nature. Not only this, it can improve our breathing and wellbeing. Here are our 5 top tips for ensuring that yoga outdoors brings you the sense of connection you’re looking for.

One of the nicest things about good weather is to take our yoga outside and feel like you’re truly connecting with nature.  Being outdoors can help reduce our blood pressure and boost our good mood. In one study in Mind, 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after spending time outside, changing from depressed, stressed, and anxious to more calm and balanced. This is backed up by changes in the body. Research reveals that being outdoors lowers levels of cortisol, a hormone that is a marker for stress. Spending more time outdoors is also linked to higher levels of concentration, creativity, and improved mental clarity. And of course, after all this time indoors, a vitamin D boost not only boosts our moods but also improves our immune system and our bones. 

It seems that taking our yoga outside is a no-brainer. Yoga already helps us to feel good and this is boosted by the benefits of being outside. A little bit of forward planning can mean that our outdoor yoga gives us everything we need.

1. Safety First

Yoga is often a heating practice.  You’ve most likely been drawn to practice outdoors due to good weather but it is important to find an area that is shaded and to remember to hydrate frequently and to use a reef safe sunscreen.  Make sure that the ground is suitable for practice.  Ensure that there are no stray twigs, branches or if you are in a public space, glass or other nasties. 

2. Modify

Yoga outside will require you to modify your practice. The ground will dictate what you might or might not be able to do. Too many vinyasas and downward dog on a soft surface could put extra pressure on your wrists and joints and a slope or uneven surface will draw your attention away from your breath. 

Use what you find outdoors as a way to inspire your practice. Trees make great natural props to support your balancing poses and you may find that soft ground cushions your knees.  And being outdoors might be the perfect opportunity to ditch your mat or try some new moves. 

Our course Outdoor Yoga offers ideas of classes that might inspire you including Dan Peppiatt’s Fun with Feral Movements or why not try an audio class? Joo Teoh has recorded some, especially to take outdoors such as Haven for the Heart.

3. Breathing

One of the most accessible practices outdoors is breathing. You can learn an easy pranayama technique and have a go under the shade of a tree or perhaps as you watch the waves ebb and flow.  You might have used a visualisation in a yoga class before, but a great way to tune into your breath is to simply allow your breath to follow the motion of the waves. Breath in and out for the same duration and notice as you naturally pause at both the top and bottom of the breath. Breathing out in nature has been shown to lower your blood pressure and boost your immunity, but avoid doing your breath practices near a busy road or traffic as air pollution will have the opposite effect.

4.  Remember Nature

When practicing yoga outdoors, nature offers you guidance and challenges. The first thing to remember is that you are a part of nature and not apart from nature.  Being outdoors is giving you an extra opportunity to notice what your body is telling you. When you are indoors you will have extra control of your environment. When you are outdoors, tune in to how your body is reacting to the change of routine but also to physical sensations.  Remember that you are a guest in the home of the birds, bugs and mini-beasts that you see all around you. Be mindful of how you can minimise your impact. Choose the space you practice in carefully and make sure that you are not using anything that can harm the environment like micro-plastics in your yoga mat or chemicals in your sunscreen.

5. Mindful of Others 

If you are doing yoga in a public space, be mindful of others and also of your own privacy.  Find an area that feels secluded and will let you be more present with your yoga practice. 


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