When I discovered yoga, I assumed that my practice would always be either studio or home based. The main thing as far as I was concerned was that I had found an activity that made me feel in tune with the world. Grounded and balanced in my own mind and body.
Enabling me to connection to the present, it helps me to release my past and let go of all of my anxieties about the future, so in essence, over the years my yoga practice has become a part of who I am.
Looking back a few years on from my introduction to yoga, the thought of only practicing indoors now seems crazy. However if it wasn’t for my friend and yoga partner suggesting one hot July evening that we should go outside into the garden to escape the stuffiness of the house I wonder if I might still only practice indoors.
Despite the fact that I would describe myself as an ‘outdoors type’, I spend an alarming percentage of each day indoors due to my work. So whenever I get the opportunity to get outside I go for it even if it’s just for 5 minutes to escape from my desk and take a walk in the garden and now practice my yoga.
Whether indoors or outside, yoga never fails to invigorate and refresh me but for so many reasons these feelings are only heightened through the additional buzz I get from practicing outdoors. In addition to strengthening the connection between my body, mind and spirit, I am also able to strengthen my connection to Mother Nature outside the limits of four walls.
Absorb Your Surroundings
Life can be pretty manic at times, running from A to B, always in a rush, leaving me with very little time to appreciate my surroundings and take in the beauty of the natural environment around me.
Time spent outside however, especially when working on my asanas, taking in the views, the sounds, the scents, grounding myself and feeling truly connected is perhaps the most precious and special time of all.
Indoors, you have a far greater control over your environment, whereas outside you can never quite predict your experience. Nature does its own thing and at times it can be a challenge to remain focused.
Over time I have learned to control my focus and cope with the unknown, through the challenges I have faced in mid practice! Lingering rainclouds, insects buzzing past, strong winds and sudden noises are just part and parcel of outdoor yoga at times and are now simply embraced along with the many other calmer aspects that cross my path unexpectedly.
Experience The World Differently
Those unforgettable moments when I get to see the word from a completely different perspective make it hard to let go of my outside sessions when the winter months approach.
Turning the world literally upside down whilst holding an inversion pose gives me access to the most fascinating scenes and views I have ever taken in! Then all of the sounds like the birds singing or the lake water gently lapping beside me add another dimension altogether.
The smell of cut grass, the smell of rain, the wonderful scent of the flowers around me; these are just a few of the things I am able to absorb and be at one with when I am able to be calm and still.
Reach For The Sun
Surely, after all, the sun salutation was always meant to allow you to salute the sun directly, feeling her rays kiss your face?
And being outside, surrounded by real trees whilst in the tree pose, visualizing my roots working their way down to the earth and my branches reaching up towards the sun gives me a sense of inner peace like no other.
If You Love Yoga Then Go Outdoors
If you are yet to experience outdoor yoga for yourself, I would urge you to give it a try. Be creative and improvise, throw any concerns you may have to the wind and explore the possibilities in the environment around you. Take your sunscreen, water bottle but remove your shoes and feel the earth beneath your feet.
Whilst performing your asanas, you will discover for yourself, (just like I did) the natural high that can be achieved as your awareness gradually spreads throughout not only your own body and all of its subtle sensations to the natural environment beyond you.
Time Outside Is Time Well Spent
Taking my yoga outside has made a profound impact on my life and until you’ve tried it you cannot say that it couldn’t do the same for you too. Outdoor yoga is often associated with yoga retreats and I have done my fair share on retreats with companies like Utopian Retreats but as I’ve explained, you can take your yoga outdoors anywhere you happen to be. Go for it.