By Steve Grant
Yoga has become hugely popular. We know that. What surprises me, in my 16th year of a yoga practice, my third year as a yoga teacher, is why more people don’t practice yoga in the outdoors during warm weather months.
Outdoor yoga is special, especially if you can find a flat spot, perhaps shaded, surrounded by trees. If there is a stream or lake or saltwater surf beside you, well, that is even better.
I’ve got a spot I like in Winding Trails right next to Lake Dunning in a grove of white pines. I roll out the mat on a carpet of fallen pine needles, which make a terrific cushion.
At the risk of sounding silly, I love doing tree pose among those trees, as if we are family; the pines, birches, oaks, maples, and me. Wait. It isn’t “as if” we are family. We are.
I’ve practiced yoga on beaches from Cape Cod to south Florida. Do yoga on the beach and, hey, you’ll end up with sand on your skin practically head to toe. But try it at dawn on a warm morning as the sun rises and it can be unforgettable. The sand? Jump in the ocean and it is gone quicker than you can say down dog. Your day begins with a smile and equanimity.
I’ve seen articles in recent years reporting that researchers found that outdoor yoga might even have more benefit than indoor yoga, as a yogi breathes in the fresh air, experiencing sensory stimuli like bird song, sunlight, breezes, the smells of woods or salt air.
If you haven’t tried outdoor yoga and would like to, I’ll be leading an outdoor yoga class along with Robin Kirsche on Sunday, June 25, at 9 a.m., sponsored by the Farmington Land Trust. Location is a beautiful land trust grassy property across the street from Farmington Bank on Main Street, close to Farmington Avenue. Farmington Bank has graciously agreed to allow yoga attendees to park in its lot. The event is free and open to the public, a Sunday morning celebration of summer. Robin, I might mention, is a very popular yoga instructor in the Hartford area, with 30 years of teaching experience and a graceful style suitable for all levels of yoga experience.
If you are thinking of attending, you might send me an e-mail or text. It is not required, but will help us get an idea of how many people will come. Bring a yoga mat or a couple of beach towels. Beginners are welcome.
My e-mail address is email@example.com, my cell is 203-733-0079. Hope to see some of my Devonwood friends there. It would be great fun if we had a big group.
This story appeared in the June 2017 edition of Neighborhood Living.