Doing yoga outside has been a little dream of mine since I started regular practice in January of this year. I finally had my first outdoor session last week and it was everything that I had hoped for and more. The smell of the fresh air was lovely, the trees overhead were gorgeous, my allergies behaved themselves, there weren’t any creepy bystanders, I didn’t stand in dog poo…
But I also noticed a few awkward discomforts and obstacles throughout my outdoor session. I’d like to share them with you so that you can attend your first outdoor yoga class with a realistic perspective of what yoga outside really entails. Also, if you’ll be attending Canada Loves Yoga this weekend (like I am) then you’ll definitely want to be extra prepared!
1. Grass is dirtier than you think Doing yoga on the grass is always presented as a safe and wholesome, relatively clean and relaxing activity. But beware, grass is filthy. You’re going to get dirty no matter what. Whether or not you use a yoga mat while you’re outside is up to you, but if you do use a mat you’ll have to give it a good wash afterward. Don’t let conventional images of women in clean white clothes doing yoga outside fool you, it’s a dirty business!
2. Glare is really distracting I got really thrown off my first balance last week when I looked up and got a harsh ray of sun right in the face. Doing yoga on summer evenings especially can mean that you end up dealing with a lot of glare, try to face away from the sun if this happens. If you can find a snug-fitting pair of sunglasses as well you can wear those during your outdoor session.
3. Uneven ground is really hard to balance on No matter how flat your chosen yoga spot seems to be it’s going to be way more bumpy than the yoga studio floor. Get ready to tumble out of any and all of the balances that you’ve been working so hard on. And don’t worry if you fall! I find that gripping my toes into the grass can help me stabilize myself, and it’s a wonderful change from the hard, cold studio floors that I’m so accustomed to.
4. People stare, it’s annoying If you end up doing yoga in a public place you’re going to get stared at. Don’t worry, I’m sure you’ve stared at lots of people working out outside for a number of reasons, now it’s your turn! Unfortunately as well, summertime is when many people, especially women, experience a lot of unwanted cat calling and public harassment. If you get cat called during your yoga session sass the perpetrator with your best ‘leave-me-alone’ one liner, and click here for support!
5. Bugs, bugs and more bugs! OMG so many bugs! Even if it’s not that ‘buggy’ a day, get ready to look down at your legs and see a gross amount of tiny insects crawling around at any given time. The best thing to do is ignore them, wear bug spray if necessary, and just rinse off in the shower or the lake afterward to get rid of them. I was creeped out by the number of bugs at first but got used to it pretty quickly.
Yoga outside is a uniquely relaxing and fun experience. Overcoming the added challenges imposed by the outdoors can make it even more rewarding. Just don’t expect to look like every romanticized picture of it; if you go in prepared to get down and dirty you’ll only get more out of it!
Finally, be sure to join me this weekend in Canada’s first nation-wide yoga session. You can participate from anywhere in the world! Check it out!
Photo by Надя Кисільова on Unsplash