How to get started in outdoor yoga
Make like yoga devotees Gisele and Heidi Klum, who are taking their OM alfresco. ‘With the soft ground beneath you and the sun on your face even the most challenging pose doesn’t feel hard,’ says Brighton-based instructor Gerry Broom. ‘It’s a workout for mind, body and soul.’
READ MORE: 5 reasons to become a yogi
Who can do it?
‘Anyone! My teacher is going strong at 65,’ says Broom. ‘You can choose from a range of different disciplines – from dynamic forms like Ashtanga, to gentler variations like Hatha, and modify each pose to suit your skill level.’ If you need to go easy on your joints, Hatha’s a winner. ‘The poses move the synovial fluid around the joints which can help and even prevent arthritis,’ she explains. You’ll get a good hit of the sunshine vitamin (vitamin D) too – proven to boost serotonin levels and help with conditions like stress and anxiety.
Where do I start?
‘If you’ve found a yoga class you like, ask your teacher if they do classes outside, ’ says Broom. ‘Look for instructors registered with Yoga Alliance UK, British School of Yoga, Independent Yoga Network or REPs. Can’t think of anything worse than being in Lycra among strangers? ‘You don’t have to do a class,’ says Broom. ‘Check out yogajournal.com for expert guides on the different pose and video tutorials,’ she suggests.
What kit do I need?
‘A yoga mat, clothes you can move easily in, water and a good sunblock,’ says Broom. ‘If you’re doing yoga in the park don’t take a huge rucksack, and leave the tablet at home. The idea is to take yourself away from the screen and the stress of day-to-day indoor life to help you feel a bit lighter,’ she explains.
What are the fitness gains?
Yoga increases flexibility, and strength, but if you do it outside, you up the ante. ‘It’s much more difficult to balance when you don’t have a fixed point to focus on like in a studio, so your core muscles work a lot harder in the process. Physically, you can’t stay within your comfort zone,’ says Broom. ‘A 60-minute Ashtanga class can burn up to 400 calories, but even doing 10 minutes of sun salutations in your back garden every day will unlock new flexibility and you’ll see an instant improvement in muscle tone and posture,’ she continues. Sold!
Gerry Broom is a Brighton-based yoga instructor.
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