Take Your Yoga Practice Into the Sun

Trade the studio for the grass. 

Now that summer is on its way, it’s time to take your indoor fitness routines outdoors. We’ll show you how.

Tip #1:  Grab your mat and get thee to the beach, a park, or a local rooftop.

Few things are more demoralizing than doing sun salutations indoors when the sun is actually out, or spending two hours of your precious summer days within the confines of a studio. Outdoor yoga is already popular in beach towns and tropical destinations, especially at retreats that combine yoga with other outdoor activities, such as surfing, hiking, and kayaking. A quick Google search can help travelers locate appropriate retreats.

For urbanites, many large yoga outfitters and studios now sponsor public outdoor (and free!) classes, and some major cities, like New York City, are getting in on the action. There are also an increasing number of local studios that offer rooftop classes in places void of green space. If you don’t have access to any of these options, you can always grab your mat and take it to your deck or a quiet, flat section of your lawn.

Here are five tips to make your outdoor yoga experience more fun and effective:

  1. Bring a padded mat (or double up your mats), especially if on a deck or rooftop.
  2. Load up on sunscreen, and, if necessary, non-toxic bug spray. If space allows, calendula candles will help keep mosquitoes at bay, unless the smoke would be bothersome during your deep breathing exercises.
  3. Especially on hot and humid days, stay well-hydrated before and after class, and bring a towel.
  4. For windy days, an extra headband will help with flyaways.
  5. Wear moisture-wicking yoga clothes. Added bonus if they’re organic!

Outdoor yoga is definitely not for everyone, especially those who have allergies, don’t like curious bystanders, or are easily distracted (think bugs in the park, sticky sand on the beach, or roadside noise on a rooftop). Then again, overcoming distractions may be a good way of practicing the meditative side of yoga.

Find out other ways of greening your yoga practice on The Green Life!

Tip #2: Open-Water Swimming

Tip #3: Trail Running

Tip #4: Mountain Biking

Sierra is the magazine of the Sierra Club. Our motto: Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet. Follow Sierra magazine on Twitter.

Image: alainamcbride