Yoga is a highly rewarding form of physical exercise. In recent years, health-savvy individuals have discovered yoga’s ability to stretch and strengthen the body. While many people practice yoga in gyms and indoor yoga studios, there are a variety of yoga poses that work extremely well when performed outside.
If you want to try some yoga, but your living room is due for its annual oriental rug cleaning it may be best to move your yoga practice outdoors. Take a look at five of the best outdoor yoga poses and stay healthy while taking advantage of the fresh air and sunshine found only outdoors.
1. Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)
The sun salutation, or surya namaskar, is a great way to begin practicing yoga outdoors. First developed in Mysore as a tribute to the sun's restorative qualities, the sun salutation is a series of warm up poses designed to strengthen the limbs and core. According to the National Institute of Health, regular use of the sun salutation is excellent for strengthening important muscles and keeping oneself in optimal health. Since the sun naturally produces vitamin D and other nutrients, it is only fitting that one performs the sun salutation outdoors. You can use this exercise as a stand-alone fitness routine or as a great warmup for a full-body yoga workout.
2. Tree Pose (Vriksasana)
The tree pose, or vriksasana, is an excellent yoga pose to perform outside. The tree pose is one of the most recognizable standing poses in hatha yoga, which is the branch of yoga that deals with physical exercise. Hatha yoga is composed of a series of "asanas," or poses. The tree pose embodies the best of this asana philosophy. With the tree pose, you stand tall and emulate the posture of a beautiful, healthy tree. It is only fitting that one performs the tree pose outdoors, surrounded by trees and breathing in the oxygen that these living plants produce. The tree pose stretches the lower body and is an excellent way to celebrate harmony with nature.
3. Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
The triangle pose, or trikonasana, is one of the most popular full-body yoga poses in the world. This pose involves stretching the legs and arms while gently twisting the torso. Since this yoga pose requires a good amount of space to stretch the full body, it is a great exercise to perform outdoors. This yoga pose also requires you to keep your eyes throughout the movement to retain balance. It is a great way to take in the beautiful sights outdoors regardless of the time of day.
4. Low Lunge Pose (Anjaneyasana)
The low lunge pose, or anjaneyasana, is one of the most freeing poses in hatha yoga. This is an excellent pose for stretching hip flexors, relieving tension, and improving posture. If you are an avid hiker, this is a great pose for loosening up the muscles you use climbing those steep inclines. Remember the low lunge pose next time you’re loading up with trail mix and freeze dried food packs and your hikes will be even more pleasant.
The low lunge pose also has a reputation for helping to keep the body slim. As noted in Forbes, people who regularly perform these versatile poses often maintain a slim physique. First performed to celebrate the maternal instinct in Hindu mythology, the low lunge pose asana is now one of the most popular yoga postures throughout the world.
5. Lotus Pose (Padmasana)
The lotus pose, or padmasana, is a classic yoga posture designed to soothe both body and mind. Many yoga practitioners believe that a yoga workout would not be complete without the meditative yoga pose. This pose involves sitting cross legged at either the start or end of a yoga routine. The lotus pose assists with breathing, circulation, and joint pain. Since this pose emulates one of the most beautiful blossoms in nature, it is only fitting that one perform this asana outside.
Yoga is one of the most rewarding exercise options available. While one can easily practice yoga indoors, practicing yoga outside can provide additional aesthetic and health benefits. By performing yoga outdoors, you can embrace the gift of nature while achieving optimal fitness.
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