Considering that the practice of yoga is largely based around the idea of connecting, calming and centering one’s body and mind, it is no wonder that many yoga videos are filmed in beautifully peaceful outdoor settings. This can seem quite enticing, and many individuals desire to participate in outdoor yoga in order to experience that added benefit. But the difference between performing the motions and exercises of yoga indoors and performing the motions and exercises of yoga outdoors is far more significant than simply changing one’s location. Following are the basic tips one should follow in order to be prepared for outdoor yoga:
1. Wear appropriate clothing. While indoor yoga only requires that one dress in comfortable clothing that permits full mobility, outdoor yoga requires that the individual consider the heat, the sun, and tan lines. You should definitely put on sunscreen, but also wear clothing that is less likely to make you feel overheated or leave you with strange-looking tan lines. If the weather is on the cooler side, be sure to wear loose layers that permit movement but also help to keep you warm.
2. Carefully select a spot for your mat. It’s a given that the ground surfaces outdoors will be uneven, and the chances of finding a completely flat spot are pretty slim. However, you can work to avoid large rocks or dips in the ground, remain close enough to hear the instructor, and set up in a position to enjoy the landscape around you.
3. Use a “back-up” mat. If you use your favorite yoga mat for outdoor yoga, you will inevitably get grass stains and dirt on it. Furthermore, some yoga mats simply cannot stand the sun and the heat of the outdoors, and will dry out and break down when used regularly outdoors. Lululemon mats are better for outdoor yoga, but it’s still best to not use your favorite indoor mat just in case it can’t stand up to the conditions when used outdoors.
4. Be prepared for visitors. Participating in any outdoor activity means that you will share your space with ants and bugs–there just really isn’t any way around it. You will do better if you simply decide not to be bothered by them. Additionally, human visitors may stop and look at your group, take photos of your group, or even come up to talk with your group. Be kind and perhaps you will inspire them to join you.
5. Connect with the earth. Look up to the sky and breathe deeply, and root down more firmly to the earth. You should take advantage of the space and world around you to feel more connected with your yoga poses, your breathing and your spiritual health, so that you get even more out of each outdoor yoga session.