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Sun Salutations: Why Bringing Your Yoga Practice Outside is Going to Change Your Life

Do you feel a warm breeze coming? We do. That means (yes you’re right), it’s finally summer! With a return to sunshine, long days, and normal temperatures, we’ll all finally be able to get outside and enjoy nature again. Sure, there are some hardcore trekkers who won’t be denied their outdoor time during the frigid months of winter, but for the rest of us normals, summer represents a time of renewal, change, and a chance to actually wear shorts without shivering.

Your version of summer probably has all kinds of great activities that come along with it, bike riding and picnics come to mind, but here’s something you might not be doing yet: outdoor yoga. Yeah, we know it might sound funny (What if people stare? What if I mess up?) but once you get over those hurdles of your ego, you’re going to see all kinds of rad benefits to your wellbeing AND your state of mind. Whether it’s in the park, outside in the wilderness, or even your own backyard, carve out a little section of the earth for yourself to practice mindfulness. Here’s why it’s going to do wonders for your yoga practice AND your sense of purpose, and just might give you that little extra burst of energy to get through the day.

You’re Going to Reconnect With Your Community

You know that a huge part of yoga is reconnecting with your body, but when you bring that practice outside, you add a new dimension to that harmony: other people. Sure, it might feel a little goofy at first, especially if you’re a little shy, but with just a little time the ego melts away and real renewal can come. This can lead to personal revelations and a renewed connection to your community. This feeling of self-discovery is a huge part of why Carrie Torres, founder of Yoga to the People, decides to move her yoga outside whenever she can. “The first time I did it I felt vulnerable and exposed. I lost the privacy of the wall and all those people walking by could see me,” says Torres in a recent interview. “But 20 minutes into the practice I didn’t hear the buses, traffic, or people. I just heard the birds and trees and I ended feeling more connected to my neighborhood.”

And who knows? Maybe you’ll find some new yoga partners to join your courageous crew!

Earthing Could Give You More Energy 

“Earthing” or “Grounding” is based around the idea that our ancestors spent much more time with their bare feet on the ground than we currently do. Roughly speaking, earthing is about the scientific concept that we receive the Earth’s surface electrons through the physical connection between skin and the ground, and that this energy can renew us when we spend time with our bare feet on the earth. Adding this to your yoga practice could leave you even more energized after an especially great hatha. This isn’t just mumbo jumbo either. There are real scientific studies looking into this idea, like this one from the Journal of Environmental Public Health whose authors reason that this is a matter of public knowledge.

““It is an established, though not widely appreciated fact, that the Earth’s surface possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons,” the study says. “The surface of the planet is electrically conductive (except in limited ultra dry areas such as deserts), and its negative potential is maintained (i.e., its electron supply replenished) by the global atmospheric electrical circuit.”

If you’re feeling a little down, then getting your feet back on the ground (literally) and centering yourself could be just what you need to get you back up and feeling your best. 

The Sun is Your Friend 

And speaking of energy, there’s no better source for energy than that big glowing thing in the sky every morning. We’re talking about the sun, of course. When you move your yoga practice outside, that means you’re getting the benefits of fresh air and sunshine. That sunshine can replenish vitamin D in ways that you’re not going to be able to get anywhere else. Not from vitamins, not from food, and especially not from goofy lamps or tanning beds. Get outside, hit those poses, and feel like your old self. Your body is going to thank you. Namaste!