Take Your Yoga Outdoors!
Practicing yoga outside in the sunshine is idyllic. Maybe there’s a gentle breeze flowing, or you’re so close to the ocean, you can feel the wind off the waves. A change of scenery can shift your perspective, and inspire profound reflection.
But what happens when it’s so hot outside, you can’t even touch your mat? Dark colored mats get really hot in the direct sun. Suddenly you’re not reveling in the fresh air, or the scenery. You’re looking for the nearest shade, or the nearest bodega where you can buy a cool drink.
If you are planning to practice outside—at a festival, in a park, at the beach—bring a towel. Besides being too hot to touch, your mat might get too slippery if you sweat a lot. I love The Yoga Towel Hugger Mugger makes because it is sticky on one side, and sustainable bamboo fabric on the other. If you get sweaty, the bamboo fabric will absorb your sweat, and you can use the towel as a sticky mat.
If you’re not sweaty, the fabric probably won’t be supportive enough, and you’ll be using your core strength to keep from slipping in poses like downward dog or warriors one and two. So if you’re not sweating, you can turn the towel over and use the grippy side for stability. It works great if you’re on a surface like grass or concrete, or on top of your regular mat. And you can fold it up and stash it in your bag—less conspicuous than your regular mat.
Tips For Practicing Yoga Outside
I used to teach outside in Puerto Rico on a deck overlooking the beach at sunrise. It was the perfect time in the tropics, because the sun was low and the temperature was still mild.
But when the sun is higher overhead, and there’s no shade, practicing yoga outside can become overly agitating. Here are some tips to keep your outside practice healthy.
Time of day. If you can’t escape the sun, practice earlier in the day, before it gets too hot.
Look for shade. Even if you’re hoping to get a tan while practicing, find a shady spot. Direct sun will feel great for a while, but even in the shade, your practice will heat you. And you don’t want heatstroke before you settle into Savasana.
Don’t forget to hydrate. Take care of yourself and bring water to refresh yourself.
Do you have other tips for practicing yoga outdoors? Share them below!
I did a foto shoot on the beach on a hot san francisco day, rarity…it was fun felt good while doing it, but I suffered for a month my nervous system did not appreciate the practice at all….
the other problem with this is in the early times there are bugs, mosquitos, and sunset same same…too many distractions..once in a while ok if an ideal day and place but regular everyday practice i stay indoors…
Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I forgot to mention the bugs. They love yoga too, apparently, and buzz around pestering and annoying you. 🙂 I could have added non-toxic bug spray to the list, though it doesn’t always work. And as you said, your nervous system takes a beating from practicing in the sun. It is fun for a while, though. Here’s to safe, nurturing summer yoga!
I love when the weather warms up, and I can practice outside! I second the notion to practice at the less hot times of day. Evening after work and before dinner can be a great time to help you switch gears from work life to home life, and it just happens to be a bit cooler. Also, since the warm weather is helping to heat your body, slow your practice down a bit – you don’t need to do as much to warm it up. Relish in some slower sun salutations and more meditative, longer-held asanas so you can notice how the heat of the day is aiding your body in its movement.
Great advice, Courtney. Thanks for your comment!
I just recently moved to a new apartment, with a big balcony on the 6th flr. the overhead keeps direct sunshine off me, i get nice winds flowing thru….i also practice in the morning so the heat is not a factor this time of year…. oh and no bugs to speak of….i found my ideal yoga shala…
Sounds perfect, Rogelio!