From reading my articles or following my work, you probably know that I am a huge outdoor fanatic. I love to be outside and move in nature. After spending a day hiking in the mountains, forests, dunes, or complex paths, your body is likely to feel stiff. To relieve the stiffness, you can complement your outdoor activities, stretching, mobility exercises or, in particular with yoga poses. You can enrich this with meditation, postures, and breathing techniques will make your experience unforgettable and help you stay healthy while taking advantage of the sunshine and fresh air.
In this article about yoga for outdoor enthusiasts, I will go over the best poses plus safety tips. I will discuss seven poses including tree, triangle, lotus or mountain, and seven safety tips such as knowing the weather, finding the best spots, or staying hydrated.
7 Yoga Poses to Connect With the Earth
Besides promoting physical, spiritual, and mental health, following the yoga series can give you a grounding effect. Connecting to the earth brings awareness of the body's connection to something bigger than life. With every breath and movement, you can connect with your roots and regain balance in your life. The following are 7 yoga poses to connect with the earth.
Tree Pose (Vrksasana)
The tree pose is an intermediate yoga position that helps with balance and stability by rooting your body on the ground. You can vary your arm positions to grow your branches or remain still and connect with the earth’s energy as it supports your body. If you are a beginner, try this pose against a wall to improve your balance. Given its complexity, perfecting the pose and maintaining stability before combining all techniques is advisable. Also, to stay safe, avoid this pose if you have a knee or hip injury.
Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)
Besides being a yoga pose, sun salutation is a great cardiovascular workout and will positively impact your mind and body. Each round of the sun salutation has 12 yoga poses. While several versions of this pose exist, sticking to one and practicing regularly for the best results is advisable.
Half Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
As the name suggests, the Half Moon pose creates a side-facing arc similar to the Half Moon. The pose entails balancing your legs and torso in a lateral stance, building strength and muscle in your core and legs. Being an intermediate pose, practice this pose with the help of an accredited instructor and avoid the pose if you have arm, hip, spine, shoulder, or foot injuries. If unsure of your balance, use a block.
Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)
The triangle pose is suitable for beginners and advanced individuals. This pose stretches your trunk and legs, making your body form an expanded triangle. The result is strong hips, groin, hamstrings, and open shoulders and chest. Like other yoga poses, you should consult your doctor before starting this pose. Also, while the position appears simple, it could be more effective if done correctly hence the need for supervision.
Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
The Lotus pose, a cross-legged yoga posture, calms the mind and alleviates physical ailments through deep meditation. To safely do this position, put your mat on stable ground and stretch your legs in front of you while keeping your spine erect. Next, bend your right knee and place it on your left thigh, with its sole facing upwards and the heel close to your abdomen. Given ankle and knee injury risks, perform the lotus pose under supervision. Other practices to protect your knee joints include flexing your knees in poses to prevent knee rotation. To do this;
- First, flex your knee, then rotate at the hip joint to avoid the body compensation mechanism.
- Avoid forcing down your knee to the mat in an internal or external rotation.
- Use a prop like a block if you have challenges resting your knee naturally on the ground.
- Avoid the pose if you have knee injuries
Airplane Pose (Virabhadrasana III variation)
The Airplane Pose is an effective pose for added balance among outdoor enthusiasts. This pose entails balancing on one leg with your arms, torso, and the other leg parallel to the ground. The Airplane pose is advisable to build your core and lower body strength.
While the Airplane Pose is advisable for outdoor enthusiasts, avoid it if you have high blood pressure, balance difficulties, or knee, hip, shoulder, and back injuries. If pregnant, have a chair or additional support to sustain your balance. Also, do not proceed with the pose if you experience pain.
Mountain Pose (Tadasana)
Lastly, consider the Mountain pose if you want to improve your thigh, hips, and leg muscle strength. This pose is basic for all standing poses, but you can do it independently to improve your posture. If overwhelmed by the mountain pose alignment, pick one to three parts of your body to focus on at a time. Generally, mountain pose is safe, but you should be cautious if you feel dizzy or lightheaded or have shoulder, back, and joint problems.
Outdoor Yoga Safety Tips
Yes, outdoor yoga offers amazing benefits, but there are some safety tips to maximize your time in nature.
Check the Weather
Before starting the yoga elements, check the weather forecast. Plan your adventures and consider having indoor workouts if there is severe or unfavorable weather. Also, beware of winds since they will impact your balance. Have sunscreen and protective sports sunglasses in case you are going to be exposed to the sun
Choose the Right Spot
Look for a flat, even surface that is free from hazards or obstacles. Consider areas with natural beauty and tranquility to enhance your connection with nature.
Dress in comfortable, breathable clothing that allows for a full range of motion. Consider wearing layers to adapt to changing weather conditions. Think about wearing old yoga clothes since you are going to get dirty.
Be Mindful of Allergens
If you have allergies, be mindful of the outdoor environment where you plan to practice yoga. Avoid areas with high pollen counts or known allergens. Consider practicing during times of the day when pollen levels are lower, such as early morning or late afternoon.
Watch for Insects and Bugs
Take precautions to protect yourself from insects and bugs while practicing outdoors. Use bug spray to prevent bites and insects on your skin and mat.
Hydration is key to the proper functioning of a body, so maintain proper hydration before, during, and after your outdoor yoga session, especially in hot weather. Bring a water bottle and drink regularly to prevent dehydration. Take breaks as needed and listen to your body's signals.
Be Mindful of Heatstroke
In hot weather, be cautious of heatstroke. Avoid practicing yoga during the hottest part of the day and seek shade or cooler areas if necessary.
The Best Yoga Poses for Outdoor Enthusiasts
Being out in nature as much as possible and mindfully joying the beauty our world has to offer is one of the top health “hacks”. It is actually not a hack at all. It is so easy and cheap, yet so few people really so it. Instead, we run the hamster wheel, get sicker, and then buy expensive medicine. Moving in nature is a great way to prevent this. Outdoor yoga can be one way to achieve it. In this article, I covered the best poses plus some top safety tips.
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