This weeks yoga guru, Shuntao Li, takes over the blog with her advice to namaslay….
Summer is here and we can all go out again. Next time you are going to the park why not bring a yoga mat and experience your practice outdoors?
What’s great about outdoor yoga?
- Fresh air – the smell of the nature. Your pranayama exercises will be much more powerful and enjoyable simply because we breathe better and there is more oxygen than in a confined space of a yoga studio.
- Connect with nature though all the senses. Feel grounded through the touch of the earth, indulge in the beautiful scenery, let the breeze brush on the skin, and hear the birds chirp in the background.
- Feel freer in your movements. There is much more space to explore movements and connect to yourself as well as nature. Don’t forget yoga comes from India, where it was mainly performed outdoors.
- It’s free! And it’s a much safer way of avoiding Covid whilst working out.
What if it rains?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions by new students to my outdoor classes. My answer is simple, we’ll go ahead anyway. As long as there is are no fundamental health concerns, it’s generally safe to perform yoga in the rain. You’ll explore a refreshing experience and appreciate our different weathers. You will also be surprised by how strong you feel at the end of the practice. Of course, I would recommend wearing a waterproof and keeping warm, which nicely leads to the tips on preparation in the following section…
Get ready with me
- What to wear: Layer up so there’s flexibility to wrap up warm or cool down if needed. Like going hiking always bring a waterproof outer jacket, because you never know how the weather will turn. It’s also a good idea to bring a waterproof bag in case it rains to keep your belongings dry. Anti-slippery socks are nice for when it’s cold. However, it’s perfectly fine to wear shoes for safety and comfort reasons.
- Mat or no mat: It’s entirely up to you. Generally, it’s safer and more comfortable to have a mat but if you don’t want to bring a mat, just focus on standing poses where you don’t need to get on your hands, knees, or back.
- A quiet location with some shade: Yoga practice is an intimate experience and some people might not be comfortable practicing in front of random spectators. Pick a quiet spot away from the crowd that feels safe for you and find somewhere in the shade so the sun is not too distracting and you are less likely to get burnt.
- Safety checks: Find a grassy area and check that the ground is reasonably dry and flat, pick out any sharp tree branches and stones to avoid any nasty surprises. Wear insect repellent if insects are particularly active in the area or at that time of the day.
- Hand sanitizer and tissue paper: Last but not least, pack a hand sanitizer, tissue paper, and a bin bag to pack away any rubbish after cleaning up your hands and mat.
Shuntao trained in the Alpujarras mountains in Spain and now excels in slow vinyasa flow and restorative classes for all. Her classes are accessible, fun, and so relaxing, probably because she is also a yoga nidra (yogic sleep) and meditation teacher. Grab a slice of zen outside at her classes here.
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