Monday, July 16, 2012

How To Practice Yoga Outside: How the Cool Kids Do It

Summer is in full swing and let me tell you, the BEST part of being an EcoYogi is practicing yoga outside. It's an important part of truly living the glamourous crunchy EcoYogi lifestyle. No really, you haven't lived until you've surya'd under the sun next to the ocean, practicing one armed downdog so you can flick ants off your mat (perhaps accidentally squishing them... you know- by accident).

 (Salutation Nation last September in Halifax Commons. Choice of event wasn't the greatest as there were THREE softball games going on with balls flying into the crowd a few times!)

Beyond the silliness of some ridiculous capitalistic "raising money to practice for free in central park", Outside Yoga is all about connecting with Nature and your green crunchy self. If you ever need a bit of motivation to crunch-ify your life, practicing yoga outside can give you a boost.

As this will be my sixth summer of outside yoga practice, I've gathered up a few tips on outdoor yoga practice that I thought I'd share. Especially for all my EcoYogi peeps who have yet to take the outdoor yoga plunge!

(equipped with my old flaking mat I saved for Yoga in the Park, my Klean Kanteen water bottle and sunglasses!)

Outdoor Yoga Mat Tips:

  • Choose your yoga mat carefully. Now, I don't want to endorse buying several mats, cuz that's wasteful... but if you have a less preferred mat I would suggest using that one outside. Outside Yoga can get dirty and messy...
  • Be prepared to clean your mat more often, or to accept that your outdoor mat will be messier.
  • TPE and rubber yoga mats are ruined by the sun's rays. No lie.
(practicing on the red beaches in PEI last summer. Although it was overcast, the temperature was warm and the ocean was so powerful)

Weather Tips:
  • Check the weather before practicing outside. I know this sounds silly, but if it's giving 30 degrees outside you might choose something you'll sweat less in... That and practicing in a torrential downpour might not be your plan for that day.
  • Wear sunscreen and sunglasses. Skin cancer isn't cool.
  • Bring water and extra sunscreen. You never know.
  • If it's windy- rocks, flip flops or blocks work really well to keep your mat from blowing up around your legs. Cuz that's just awkward.

(practicing on the dock at the cottage this summer. studiously facing away from the neighbours)

Space to Practice Tips:

  • Choose a flat surface to practice on. Scope out your spot- it might look like a slight incline, but when you've only ever practiced on a studio floor, you'll feel like you're listing to the side or about to fall flat on your face. 
  • Check for dog poo. Seriously, parks are terrible for this. Last year during our practice a poor girl put her hand in the grass only to find out it wasn't just grass. :S
  • Remove rocks, broken mussel shells or any other sketchy debris. 
  • Practicing on a dock can be fun... but remember docks typically move on the water. Be mentally prepared to have a bit of a tipsy practice. Hangover yoga could be a bad idea. (trust me).
  • Choose your level of privacy. Practicing in a public space means accepting that people will see you and perhaps even take your picture ("look honey- a yogi!!"). More privacy=a tree-friendly area in the park, less privacy=the dock. You might like the idea of practicing surrounded by water, but all the other cottages or lake people can see you clear as day.
  • Be prepared to politely ask some creepy old man in a motorized chair to stop zooming in on you and your friends' chests and taking pictures from 5ft away. (this happened two weekends ago).
Yoga Tips:

  • Your practice might not be exactly the same. It's amazing how our foundation is so essential to what we expect from our practice.
  • Balance postures are tricky when the ground is uneven, your drishti (focus) is on swaying grass or moving waves and the wind is actually pushing on you. All the cool yogis fall over more outside.
  • Focus and concentration are a bit trickier to come by when there are squirrels, crows, ants crawling on your mat, container ships and small children screaming "look mommy! YOGA!!!". 
  • You may feel more vulnerable in savasana with your eyes closed. 
  • Using a water bottle as a block is completely acceptable.
  • Outside Yoga is the perfect environment to have a playful practice!

Now- google your city and "Yoga in the Park" and you are as good as ready!!

article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. Gotta admit, I tend to view outdoor yoga as kinda like naked yoga: conceptually, it's great--totally in-touch with nature instead of in a controlled indoor environment, the body itself confined by clothing...and yet, generally speaking, unless I'm on a beach in Costa Rica while the sun's setting, I prefer a nice yoga room and a pair of shorts...

  2. I adore practicing yoga outside on my patio. Nice and flat but I get an awesome view of the trees and gardens in my back yard. Plus it's super private and if it's early or late enough in the day it's really quiet and peaceful as well :)

  3. Don’t you just love doing yoga outdoors? What I do is ask my family and friends to join me, so that we can have fun at the same time. Even my 6 year-old-daughter joins me in my yoga time. She thinks it is fun. It helps her with her ballet dancing and since children are more flexible physically, it is easy for her to do different yoga poses.


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