There’s a reason we don’t call nature the “okay outdoors.” Something comes alive within us when we step outside and it’s not just because of our romantic ideals. Nature abounds with invisible molecules known as negative ions. As we breathe in the fresh air, these tiny charged particles reach our bloodstream and increase mood-boosting serotonin, which produces that sky-high feeling of euphoria. They’re the reason we seek out waterfalls, rushing rivers, and crashing waves—the churning of the water kicks up clouds of negative ions. In fact, just listening to recordings of water in motion creates a feeling of well-being, which is why you so often hear waves, rain, and babbling brooks on meditation soundtracks.
With most studios closed and months of fair weather still ahead, now is a perfect time to venture outside with our mats and soak up some of those little particles of joy. Just keep in mind that a new setting requires new considerations. Mother nature can be equal parts tender and tough. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of whatever natural setting you choose—whether it’s your backyard, neighborhood park, apartment rooftop, or favorite majestic wild space.
Pack what you need
Mother nature doesn’t provide free wifi, so before you leave home, download a class to ensure a smooth experience. Glo offers this feature on our apps for Android and iOS. Make sure to pack plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen too.
Find a level space
To avoid tumbling head over heels in down dog, try not set up on an incline. You’ll also want to check for pits and holes in the ground before unrolling your mat.
Make it comfy
Before placing your mat or blanket, clear away any small rocks or debris that could cause a disturbance. If it’s windy, place some of your belongings around the outside edges of your mat to hold it down.
Opt for shade
While flowing through sun salutations in the sunshine might sound like a dream, those soft sunbeams may start to feel more like scorching rays once you’re ten minutes in. Find a shady spot if you can or at least be prepared to sweat and put on plenty of sunscreen.
Play it safe
Choose an environment where you feel comfortable and safe and keep your belongings within eyesight while you practice.
Give yourself some direction
Traditionally, yoga was practiced pointing east, facing the rising sun. If that makes sense, point your mat that way, but mostly use your intuition to choose the direction that feels right. Perhaps, before starting your movement, pause and face the four directions (North, South, West, and then end in the East) as a way to clear and bless your space.
Thank Mother Nature
Even if you’re on the roof of a building or the pavement outside, it’s important to remember that, ultimately, we’re all standing on the earth. Take a moment of gratitude for all of it: earth, water, fire (sun), the air that you breathe, and the space that surrounds you.
If you’re looking for some outdoor practice inspiration, try one of these summertime classics: