LIFESTYLE

Why You Should Try Outdoor Yoga

18/06/2014 16:45 BST | Updated 19/06/2014 11:59 BST

Yoga is not just about connecting to yourself, but interacting with your immediate environment.

So, while it may be convenient to practise at your local studio, doing yoga outdoors (weather permitting) is a great way to be at one with Mother Nature.

We asked Gerry Broom, an Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow specialist who teaches Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga in Brighton, to share her top postures for outdoor yoga.

"Grounding poses which include a lot of standing postures help you to strengthen practice, deepen breath and connect with the earth," she tells HuffPost UK Lifestyle.

"The key is to relax and not hurry," she says. "Try and hold each pose for 30 seconds or 10 deep and unhurried breaths drawing the air all the way to the bottom of the lungs and then taking the same amount of time to exhale. Always finish with a Final Relaxation and then sit for a few moments to take in your surroundings."

Fierce Pose

yoga

Standing with the feet together, inhale, bend the knees so the fingers brush the ground and then sweep the arms overhead until they are shoulder width with the hands roughly over the feet. Squeeze the knees together and engage into your core and enjoy the feeling of the ribs floating away from the hips.

Outdoor tip: This pose connects the feet with the earth and strengthens the legs.

Warrior 2

outdoor yoga

From standing, step out to the side into a wide stance. Turn the right foot out and raise the arms to shoulder height. Exhale and bend the right knee making sure that the knee is directly over the ankle. This pose builds strength and focus so find your inner warrior and gaze out over the ring finger of the right hand. To finish, inhale to straighten the front leg and exhale pivot on the heels to change sides.

Outdoor tip: This pose strengthens the legs and allows you to gaze forwards and enjoy the view.

Tree

tree pose

From standing, press down through the left foot so the right foot becomes light. Place the right foot on the ankle, shin or thigh. Inhale and bring the hands together in front of the heart and enjoy the feeling of freedom and expansion. Gaze ahead. Pressing the hands together helps internal activation in this pose and assists balance.

Outdoor tip: Be like a tree and find your roots in the standing leg. Gaze forwards and enjoy the view while connecting into your core.

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Triangle

triangle pose

From standing take a wide step out to the side. Turn the right foot out and the left foot in slightly. Inhale, reach out to the right, lengthening the lower ribs and exhale to place the hand on the shin or ankle or even take the big toe. Reach the left hand up to the sky with the thumb over the mouth and gaze up towards the fingers. Try and keep the ribs over the right leg rather than curling forwards as you press the tailbone towards the back heel. To finish, inhale to rise up and exhale pivot on the heels to change sides.

Outdoor tip: This pose lengthens and strengthens the waist and opens the hips. Gazing up to the hand in the sky lets you find your balance without a ceiling.

Dancer

outdoor yoga

From standing, bend the right leg and grasp the ankle with the right hand. As you inhale lift the leg behind you while tilting the body forwards and reach the left arm forward to counter balance. Gaze forwards. Enjoy the feeling of opening the chest and keep the lower back spacious and relaxed. Return to standing and repeat on the other side.

Outdoor tip: As well as connecting the standing leg to the earth this pose is also a lovely opener for the front of the body as the back leg lifts and helps open the chest.

Final Relaxation

Lie down on the mat with the palms facing the sky and relax the legs to the sides. Close the eyes and let each muscle relax. This pose lets the body assimilate what it has done and allows the mind to relax as the muscles melt away from the bones.

Outdoor tip: Focus on the feel and sounds of the environment around you.

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More outdoor yoga tips:

• If you are near water (a lake, the sea or even a stream) you’ll get the benefits of negative ions which increase your sense of wellbeing and enhance respiratory function.

• Yoga increases serotonin levels and this effect is boosted by moving outdoors.

• Sunshine is the body’s main way of synthesising vitamin D which keeps teeth and bones healthy, remember to take sun cream.

• Take a yoga mat to protect your feet and help you balance.

• If you practice to music, take along your headphones to help you focus. Better yet turn your phone off to add to the sense of “getting away from it all” and enjoy the natural soundtrack of your surroundings.

• Stay hydrated, even on a cool day make sure you drink enough water as thirst or dehydration may spoil the enjoyment of your yoga.

• Step away from your normal routine and embrace something different. You will feel a sense of achievement for moving outside your comfort level.

The images are all courtesy of Gerry Broom for Forest Holidays.