A Definitive Guide to Practicing Yoga Outdoors

Make a deep connection to your natural surroundings.

By: Vincent Stokes

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Today, most people practice yoga in some manner of indoor gym or studio while completely missing out on one of the beautiful teachings of yoga: connecting with nature. While yoga teachers try their best to create a soothing atmosphere with soft lights, music, and aromas, it doesn’t quite compare to the sensation of warm sun on your back or the caress of a soft breeze. 

This video demonstrates just how creative yoga can be, whether you’re on your own or in a group. It is a great reminder that yoga is something you take with you, no matter where you are, not something that is only found within the walls of your studio. Regardless of your skill level, if you’re looking to improve your routine then here is your guide to practicing yoga outdoors, the way it was intended. You’ll see the liberating feeling it provides, and it will be difficult to make indoor yoga your normal practice.

Important Outdoor Supplies 

Unlike an indoor studio, you can’t control the level of lighting outside, and since you might want to practice under a clear view of the sky, you’ll want to make sure you are protected from the sun. Aside from sunscreen, there are many yoga tops that are made with SPF fibers, or you can wear your best yoga pants to decrease prolonged sun exposure. Just don’t end a nice yoga session with a sunburn, it might dampen your experience of outdoor yoga. 

Staying hydrated is important, especially on particularly dry or warm days so make sure to bring a water bottle. A bug repellent also might come in handy if you live in an area with a lot of mosquitoes or pests. And lastly, carry a towel so that you can use it wipe the mat clean, or you can use it under the map to prevent your mat from becoming damp or dirty. A hand towel for wiping sweat is always a good idea too. 

Get a Durable Mat

Before taking your practice outside, you’ll want to get yourself a thicker mat to provide more cushion and stability over rough and uneven surfaces, such as a lawn or sand. You’ll have a better chance of keeping dirt off your mat too if it’s over 5cm thick. Make sure your mat has good traction by using one with a textured or tacky surface. 

If you’re more experienced, then you can try your outdoor practice without the use of a mat as long as the ground is soft. An uneven surface can intensify your yoga moves as your body works harder to maintain posture and balance. 

Pick a Suitable Location

The atmosphere of where you choose to practice will affect your mood and ability to relax. Take this into consideration while choosing the perfect spot to do your routine. A nearby busy street, loud music, or other kinds of noise pollution might become aggravating and interfere with your ability to connect with your movements.

Also consider the type of surface, whether it’s rocky, smooth, dry or wet, as well as the scenery around you. Many find being near water is incredibly soothing, as well as being surrounded by greenery, however you might be able to find this same serenity on your deck or in your backyard. Whatever makes you feel comfortable. 

Choose a Good Time of Day 

If your schedule is flexible, try choosing the time of day that feels best for you. For some people that might be early in the morning as the sun is still coming up so that they can avoid the afternoon heat, while others enjoy full sunlight. Around the time the sun is going down is also good, as long as it’s not at the time of day when the sun beams in your eyes. Timing may influence other factors such as foot traffic, so keep that in mind as well. 

Many aspects about yoga are being in the moment, and being one with the universe. Taking your routine outside is a great way of making you feel more connected with your surroundings, and not closed off from the world around you. Embrace the outdoors and use it for inspiration during your next session.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.