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July 3, 2012

Take Your Yoga Outdoors.

Play with Yoga Hike by Anna Sheinman

Practicing yoga outdoors will add a different dimension to your practice.

Yoga trains your mind to be still. When a mind is tame, you can see things clearly. Nature will intensify this experience and heighten your awareness.

By practicing outdoors you can establish your link to the environment. You can feel how inseparable you are from it.

Many yogic postures resemble animals and natural elements. Practicing it outdoors, you can experience this inseparability.

Looking into the vastness of the horizon, observing graceful birds flying in a space of “no walls,” the open space expands into the vastness and you sense the freedom you just can’t replicate indoors.

Spice up your practice with the special effects by inhaling and focusing on the smells of nature, such as mountain winds, ocean tides or grass. Exhale, be grateful and release back into nature. Listen to the music of the trees and the wind of the mountains. When you stop and “smell the outdoors,” it’s as if Mother Nature is telling us to be present and breathe deeply.

One of the biggest benefits of the yoga practice is a shift in perspective.

By taking your practice outdoors, the mind becomes quieter and you can see how it is possible to replace the inner patterns or the accumulated impressions with new, healthy patterns. See the world upside-down!

If nothing else, uneven, natural surfaces such as rock and grass can intensify your posture, adding additional benefits to build stronger muscles.

How do I experience yoga outdoors?

There are outdoor classes everywhere from Central Park to the Rocky Mountains. You can google your local areas and surf the meetups for yoga on the beach and yoga in the park. Make sure you bring lots of sun-block, a sun-hat, bug spray and water. You can bring a yoga mat or a towel. I personally enjoy practicing barefoot with no mat.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can explore my ever favorites—combining hiking or rock-climbing with yoga. Some companies offer transportation, guided trips, yoga and food.

Read some reviews, compare prices, decide on a place, and go!

No matter where you live, you can try outdoor yoga and explore your environment with all five of your senses. Ahh…the soft grass or the solid rock underfoot, explore the texture of a boulder with your hands—what are you waiting for?

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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