Yoga is not only an amazing way to connect with your mind and body, but also with the environment around you. The atmosphere that you cultivate in your practice can make such an impact on your experience. Over the winter, you’ve probably been practicing indoors, making the best use of your living room or bedroom. Now that it’s spring, the ability to practice yoga outdoors as well as in group settings will become more frequent as the weather warms. Performing yoga with the fresh air is a unique way to gain a better appreciation for the world around you, so here are 5 tips on how to stay safe and healthy for when you take your yoga practice outside.
1. Ensure the area is practical and safe
Before you start your yoga exercises, you should make sure that the area you are in is best suited for it. Being outside, you have to make sure that the ground is clear of rocks and sticks, as well as holes and other dangerous obstacles that you could potentially hurt yourself on. So before you lay your mat down, check to make sure that the ground is clear of any and all potential hazards. Additionally, you’ll want to avoid setting up on a steep slope, as that could make maintaining your balance much more challenging. Be sure to test out a few poses before committing to the area, allowing you to confirm that it is a practical place to exercise. Assuming it feels comfortable and safe, you’re good to go.
2. Keep allergies at bay
As much as you might love the outdoors, if you’re prone to allergies your ability to enjoy it becomes much more difficult. Anything from the pollen in the air to the grass can lead to a sneezing fit or an irritating skin reaction. This can make practicing yoga in an outdoor setting much less practical, and perhaps not even possible, depending on how severe your allergies are.
If you know that you have bad allergies, try to take the proper precautions to avoid disrupting your yoga session. For example, try not to go outside on very windy, dry days as those conditions tend to cause flare ups in allergies. Additionally, there are many different over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medications that you can take before or after going outside that will help alleviate the worst symptoms.
Sometimes your allergies can come out of nowhere and hit you in the middle of your yoga routine. If this happens and you don’t have any allergy relief meds on hand, rather than interrupting your flow by heading out to a store, you can use a service that offers OTC delivery and have the necessary meds brought to you in minutes. Utilizing this convenience allows you to stay focused and in the zone while getting the relief you need to keep your mind and body centered.
3. Use the appropriate gear
While it’s technically true that you can enjoy the benefits of yoga without gear, having the appropriate clothing, mat and accessories can really help you optimize your practice. First, you should make sure that you have light, flexible, and breathable clothing – particularly if it’s hot and sunny. Ideally, the clothing will both protect you from the sun’s rays while also keeping you cool and comfortable.
Additionally, it’s important that you have a mat that is best suited for outdoor use. Because it will become muddy, sandy, or exposed to the elements, an old, used mat might work best. Also, bringing blocks, bolsters, and any other accessories that you use in your practice with you will ensure that you’re able to perform the moves safely.
4. Stay hydrated
No matter the weather, you should be sure that you are drinking enough water to stay hydrated before, during and after your yoga session. In fact, for every 20 to 30 minutes of exercise, you should be drinking about a cup of water to replenish any lost fluids. To help you achieve this, carry a water bottle with you and challenge yourself to drink a little bit of water in between poses. You may want to also drink something with electrolytes, such as Gatorade, which will help your body maintain its balance of fluids. By staying hydrated, you’ll ensure that you feel healthy and in control throughout your entire session.
Practicing yoga outside can add a whole new dimension to your appreciation of the practice. Due to the outside elements, you need to take extra precautions to protect yourself and maintain your health and well-being. Use these tips as a starting checklist to ensure that you can develop a strong connection with your mind, body, and nature.