Yoga may have started out in India over 5,000 years ago, but today, over 55 million practitioners in the US turn to it for enhanced flexibility and cardiovascular health, protection from injury, improved athletic performance, and a boost in energy, among others. Yet due to the pandemic, over 6,000 yoga studios in the country were forced to close down, and yogis everywhere may have found themselves laying their mat out at home.
Fortunately, the threat of COVID-19 is receding. As we transition back to normal, you may be wondering how to practice yoga safely without putting yourself and others at risk of infection. One perfect compromise between the home and the studio is outdoor yoga. Here's more on how a simple change in setting can not only help you connect better with nature but with yourself, as well.
IT WILL HEIGHTEN YOUR AWARENESS
Outdoor yoga can sharpen and stimulate your senses in a way that makes yoga a multisensory experience. You’ll smell the freshness of the grass beneath your feet and hear the rustling of the leaves on nearby trees, which will create a meditative environment. However, outdoor yoga can go further by improving your proprioception and helping you become more aware of yourself. According to Vox, proprioception is also known as kinesthesia or the "sixth sense." This skill helps you perceive the location of your body and the movements each muscle makes without the need for visual input.
IT WILL IMPROVE BALANCE AND STABILITY
Unlike the conventional yoga studio, you can mix up the surface you practice on and set up your mat on a slight incline. So when you're in Tadasana (mountain pose), Ardha Chandrasana (half moon pose), or any other pose that challenges your balance, it'll be extra challenging to stay upright. By tackling this steeper learning curve, you'll eventually hone your balance to be better than what it would have been if you'd simply stuck to the firm, flat floors of your local studio or home. The increased proprioception outdoor yoga gives you can help you to this end, as well.
IT WILL ENERGIZE YOU
Have you ever stepped outside, taken in that fresh, crisp air, and immediately felt rejuvenated? Outdoor yoga can enhance this effect significantly by opening your energy channels. In fact, a 2019 study published in Ecopsychology found that any exercise done outdoors is a great mood and energy booster. Consequently, exercising outdoors can trigger our fight-or-flight response in bursts that account for increases in energy.
If you're new to yoga, don't worry. A long-form article on stretching exercises for flexibility by SymptomFind points out that there are many easy stretches you can do to increase flexibility, so even beginners can do outdoor yoga. By warming up from your neck to your calves, you should be ready to do simple poses — like the Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog) — with ease.
Outdoor yoga is largely dependent on finding the right spot. The ideal place has full or partial shade and keeps urban features out of your direct line of sight. If you're in a city park, headphones can help create your own private bubble.
FIND UV PROTECTIVE YOGA CLOTHES TODAY!
Sun damage can do more than just cause sunburn — over time, it can lead to premature aging. To avoid this, consider grabbing some of the yoga apparel here on BloqUV. They’re specially designed with coolness and comfort in mind, so you can strike any pose while getting 50+ UPF protection. Why not browse our collection? We're sure to have what you need!
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Prepared by Alicia Hunter