Yoga in Unconventional Spaces
3 Reasons to Take Your Practice Outside
by Dianne Bondy
Why do you practice yoga?
I use my practice to calm my angst, dissipate my fear, and work through what I find difficult to understand about myself and the world. My practice keeps me connected to my highest self, and more conscious of my feelings, thoughts, and actions. It gives me the opportunity to explore how I am affecting others (both positively and negatively), so that I can better serve as a mother, activist, and yoga teacher.
All of us will have different reasons for coming to the mat. Nevertheless, even if we are clear as to why we practice, being consistent isn’t always easy. Sometimes we need the inspiration to follow through.
One of the ways I stay consistent is to get spontaneous by doing yoga in unconventional spaces. And my favorite unconventional space is the great outdoors. Where I live, the opportunity to do yoga in the great outdoors is fleeting, and I want to drink it in as much as possible while I can. I love to walk as part of my mindfulness practices, and I’ve been known to throw down a sun salute while waiting at crosswalks. And it can be especially magical to practice outside at sunrise when the world is quiet, and everything is awakening.
Where I live, the opportunity to do yoga in the great outdoors is fleeting, and I want to drink it in as much as possible while I can.
Below I share three reasons why practicing outside can benefit your body, mind, and soul. I also share a video that will help you get started with an outdoor practice today—assuming the weather is beautiful wherever you are (and if it’s not, you’ll have these tips in your back pocket for another day).
Here they are:
1. Practicing outside reminds us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.
For me, yoga outside sparks contemplation of how I fit in with the world. I am reminded that I am an integral part of Mother Nature; that I am a creation that encompasses all the beauty I see around me.
As a breeze wafts off the lake and flows through tree leaves, imagine that the earth is breathing along with you. The movement of air can even inspire the movement of asana. My tree pose becomes a reflection of the trees around me, and I too sway with the wind.
2. Practicing yoga outside can remind us to witness the beauty around us.
The sun sustains life, it rises without fail, and yet we can still take it for granted.
Practicing yoga outside reminds me to get lost in sunsets. It is rewarding to have the opportunity to stop, breathe, and be mindful in a moment of breathtaking beauty. Whenever I do this, I feel that time is slowing down.
3. Everyone can do yoga in nature!
Nature can also be very accommodating to an accessible yoga practice. Try utilizing trees, boulders, and park benches as tools for your practice. Remember: Anything can be a tool for accessible asana.
Taking your practice outside can help you get the most out of your summer and fall. We spend way too much time inside, so let’s increase our vitamin D, and let the sun lighten our mood and lift our spirits. Lying in savasana feels wonderful when the sun warms your skin and the breeze tickles your nose.
But don’t just take my word for it. Try it yourself.