After years of exploring the outdoors through hiking and camping trips, I started to notice that I gained so much more from nature than physical fitness and seeing beautiful views.
Of course I love the snow-capped mountain landscapes and the satisfaction of finishing a good hike, but I noticed other positive effects too.
So I started practicing outdoor yoga as well. I hiked with my yoga mat, I taught community yoga at the beach, and I fell in love with bringing the practice outside.
Below are some of the benefits I’ve experienced from practicing yoga outdoors that you can experience too!
1. Fresh Air and Sunshine
One of the most obvious benefits to practicing outdoor yoga is the fresh air and sunshine you get from being outside.
Whenever I’m feeling stuck, tired, or unmotivated, going outdoors for some fresh air and pointing my face towards the sun always seems to energize me. It feels like a quick reset.
Adding in some yoga is a great way to breathe in the fresh air and get some Vitamin D!
2. New Perspectives
Spending time in nature always seems to be an easy way for me to disconnect from daily routines and to-do lists. When I go on a hike, I naturally start to disconnect from my phone and the desire to check emails and social media constantly.
I notice that I get the same benefits whenever I practice yoga, but they seem to be amplified when I practice it outdoors.
Maybe it’s the wide-open spaces, or the fresh air, or something else entirely, but when I’m outside I seem to be able to take a step back from my normal mental chatter and gain new perspectives.
Being outside and sitting, listening, and noticing my breathing helps me quiet my mind. Sometimes when I get out of the routine and step outside, I discover a new way of looking at a problem I’m having.
In nature, I find it easier to focus on deeper thoughts, deeper breaths, creative ideas, and solutions. Whenever I feel stressed or overwhelmed by a decision, time outdoors always seems to help.
3. More Awareness and Appreciation
One of the things I love most about taking my yoga practice outdoors is the natural wonder and appreciation I feel for nature. To be able to sit on my mat and notice the details around me naturally leads me to feel gratitude that these beautiful places exist and that I am free to explore them.
When I’m outside hiking, I’m on the move and often looking down. When I’m practicing outdoor yoga, it’s nice to be in one place noticing all the details around me.
Even in areas that you see often, such as your backyard or the local park, it’s incredible how much these places change at different times of the day and throughout the seasons.
That’s something that always amazes me.
I can be in a place I’ve been many times before, but it’s always different somehow. There are always more details to notice, and practicing yoga outdoors gives me that time to actually slow down and be fully present to what’s around me.
Feel the sunshine warming your cheeks. Smell the fresh-cut grass. Hear the birds chirping. Feel the soft ground under your toes as they grip the mat. Feel the cool morning air fill your nose and lungs. Notice the details.
Noticing the details around me helps me become aware of the present moment. I slowly start to pull my thoughts back from the future or the past and I can really enjoy my yoga practice.
Simple ways to take your yoga practice outdoors:
As I mentioned above, you don’t need to go far to combine yoga and nature. Your own backyard, local beach, or local park are all great places to bring the mat.
I have several outdoor yoga classes over on my YouTube channel that you can follow along to and bring the mountains right to your own backyard:
If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can even take the mat on a hike and enjoy some yoga and deep breathing further from home. This always feels good on my tired legs and tight hips!
Furthermore, you don’t even need the mat. You can also enjoy the benefits of sitting and focusing on your breath for a few minutes outdoors. Notice the sounds and practice being fully aware of the present moment. Yoga is so much more than the poses.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, burnt out, or craving a deeper connection to the world around you, spending time in nature and letting your mind relax with yoga can help.
Taking a big inhale of fresh air while reaching my fingertips towards the big open sky is one of the sweetest feelings I know. I hope you come to know that feeling too.
Amanda is an outdoor blogger and YouTuber. She creates content on adventure travel, camp cooking, and outdoor skills. On her blog you’ll find hiking and camping education that helps people go from confused and overwhelmed, to confident and adventurous in the outdoors. Learn more on the Amanda Outside Blog.