Hear that? It's sunshine and fresh air calling your name! And there's no better pair than gorgeous weather and an outdoor yoga sesh. Get ready to "Om" with Mother Nature thanks to these nine expert tips.
1. Break out the SPF
But first, sun safety: Sunscreen, clothes with SPF, hats, SPF lip balm, and sunglasses are all helpful when practicing outdoor yoga. Bonus points for adding a strap to your glasses and hat so they don't fall off during downward dog.
2. Don't skimp on H2O
When you're practicing in a yoga studio, you've got guaranteed water right down the hall. But that's not always the case with outdoor yoga. Be sure to fill up your water bottle ahead of time so you can spend your time doing sun salutations instead of searching for water.
3. Beware of the bugs!
Shavasana isn't so serene if you're being bitten by mosquitoes. If you're somewhere this might be an issue, spray yourself and your gear down with bug spray before you go. (You want to do it far enough ahead of time that it dries so you don't slip.) Also watch out for anthills and wasps nests before you set your mat down. And don't forget to bring along your meds if you have allergies to bees or other bugs.
4. Keep an eye on the air quality
When you're focusing on your deep breathing, you don't want to worry about inhaling pollution, haze, or wildfire smoke. When you check the weather (an obvious to-do), peek at the air quality forecast, too. If the air is too polluted or it's just too hot outside, it might be best to bring your yoga session indoors for the day. (Or, at the very least, opt for an early morning class!)
5. Stay street smart
If you're focused on your practice, then you're probably not thinking about how your phone, keys and other belongings are out in the open. To keep you worries at bay as you flow, take some precautions: Don't leave your valuables laying out and be aware of the people and activities around you. Better yet, leave valuables at home or in the car so you can stay focused.
6. Consider keeping your shoes on
Blasphemy! OK, we get it, but before you write this off: You never know what could be on the ground around you — broken glass, nails, sharp sticks and rocks could all force you to say "namaste" before practice is over. Inspect the ground around you before you begin, and consider wearing shoes. And if yoga with shoes just feels wrong, try doubling up your mat to add another layer of safety.
7. Don't go it alone!
While solo practice has its advantages, it can also be a bit intimidating. Plus, outdoor classes can immerse you in unique locations — such as near waterfalls, in national parks, and even on top of mountains — that you might not seek out on your own. Check with your local yoga studio, park or recreation center to see if they have any outdoor offerings (and don't be afraid to sign up!).