Lockdown restrictions and social distancing rules mean that some fitness classes can’t operate in the same way as before at present, but the good news is that some sessions have moved outdoors, and the popularity of activities like outdoor yoga has soared over recent months.
Although generally practised in cool city centre locations, outdoor yoga is also something that can also be practised easily at home with the help of an online streaming service such as FIIT TV, which offers yoga sessions with qualified instructors as part of its service. (There’s a 14 day free trial if you wanted to try it out!) Streamed live onto your phone or device, there’s nothing to stop you doing a session or two in the garden rather than the front room if you wanted to experience the benefits of the fresh air…
If you do fancy trying an outdoor yoga class, or trying it out in the garden with a streamed fitness session, there are plenty of health benefits to enjoy for both body and soul.
Here are four excellent reasons why outdoor yoga is a great activity to add to your fitness repertoire…
- You’ll feel in tune with nature
Practicing yoga outside can help you feel more in tune with nature, and the elements and fresh air will force you to focus more and deepen your experience.
Feeling the breeze on your face and the sun on your body, and hearing bees buzzing about and the general hum of nature can help to give you a feeling of oneness with the world. This can promote feelings of relaxation and happiness, relieving the stresses and strains of daily life.
- You’ll perfect your posture
Posture is so important, and can be overlooked in today’s busy society. What’s more, working from laptops, hunching over your phone and even lugging around large bazookas (!) can all have an adverse effect on your posture.
In fact, bad posture can lead to back, neck and shoulder pain, spinal problems and even poor digestion and bad circulation, so anything you can do to improve it is a great idea.
Yoga helps you work on your core muscles and increases body awareness, and some of the positions stretch out your back and encourage good posture.
Outdoor yoga can further assist your body awareness, stability and balance, as uneven terrain such as grass can make you put more emphasis on getting the positions right, and maintaining them.
- Your flexibility will increase
All types of yoga will increase your flexibility over time. Yoga really works at loosening, lengthening and stretching out your muscles, so if you suffer from tight calf muscles, tight hamstrings or you can’t touch your toes, yoga will almost definitely help.
Increasing your flexibility will help you to move more easily and feel less stiff – good attributes to have while chasing after a toddler or a crawling baby!
- Your mental wellbeing could improve
Yoga is brilliant for mental wellbeing, as it provides a real escape from the busyness of life as you focus on your breathing and your postures and forget about your heaving to-do list. It promotes calm and relaxation, and – most importantly for busy mums – it gives you some precious you-time!
The NHS says that there’s some evidence that regular yoga practice is beneficial for people with depression and stress (you can find out more on the general benefits yoga here). Additionally, other studies have found that yoga’s focus on relaxation can have mental health benefits and lead to improvements in many areas of mental wellbeing.
Practicing outside in the sunshine and fresh air could add an extra element of calm, as you listen to the birds while you do the downward dog! Namaste!
There are lots of outdoor yoga sessions to be found, with big cities and even National Trust sites getting involved with the practice. Tell us about your favourite local sessions in the comments!