Being outdoors when you practice yoga has a lot of charms: gentle breeze in your hair, warm sun on your face, feeling at one with nature. However there are a few distractions from wildly varying temperatures to curious passers-by and damp seeping slowly through your mat.
Now, obviously I’m talking about yoga outdoors in the SW of Ireland. I’m sure practicing yoga in Indonesia has its own distractions but I’m not covering those here. This article is for people thinking of joining me at one of my outdoor classes in Waterville, County Kerry and the surrounding area. At the moment, we are recovering from Covid-19 and for many people this is the only way to take a class with a teacher.
Some practical tips will follow but the essential thing to accept is that it is different to a normal class. You might need to lower your expectations of what you will achieve physically and go easy on yourself. There’s a lot that’s beyond the control of you or your teacher once outside, so think of this kind of class as a practice in letting go (for you and your teacher!).
In terms of practicalities, if you live here then you will know that layers of clothing are essential. This includes a showerproof one if possible! You may still need sunscreen in the midday sun or spray for midges if practising early in the morning or in the evening.
Underfoot I recommend practicing directly on the sand or earth if your constitution is up to it. Mats tend to collect sand and blow around when you stand on only 1 part of it. They are rarely waterproof, and even on a sunny day in summer the ground is often wet. This is especially true if you’re on an Atlantic beach where the tide covers the sand twice a day. I would use a towel otherwise, and bring a spare to lie on once we come to relaxation.
As for passersby, I try to choose a time and place to minimise this distraction. However choosing an outdoor space is often a compromise between various factors. Hopefully as you get into your practice your awareness of the people around you will fade away. You will become one with nature 🙂