5 Creative Places to Take Your Yoga Mat to ...

One of the beautiful things about yoga is that you can enjoy it practically anywhere. Why not try it in the great outdoors? Not only will outdoor yoga fill your lungs with fresh air, but other benefits include being close to nature, having plenty of space, and increasing your internal focus. Getting outside will invigorate your mind and body. Consider the following places for taking your workout outdoors.

1. National, State, and Local Parks

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If you are fortunate enough to live near a state or national park (or if you vacation near one), you can find many amazing spaces for yoga. Some parks hold yoga classes for visitors, so go online or call ahead to see if this is an option while you're going to be there. Alternatively, locate a quiet space such as a grassy area, sandy beach, or a shady clearing to exercise alone. Be sure not to wander too far off the beaten path for safety reasons. Remember to check for permission before doing your routine in an unfamiliar location. Make sure there are no dangers like glass, rocks, poison ivy, or prickly plants. Or bears.

2. The Lake

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The sound of moving water is relaxing and will inspire you to connect with nature as you exercise. Find a soft, grassy area or a dock with plenty of space for others to pass by. If you're lucky enough to have access to a boat, perhaps you could try yoga out on the water for the ultimate experience in tranquility.

3. Your Backyard

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If you have some backyard space, why not use it for your next workout? You can enjoy some "me time" under an open sky, or invite family or friends to participate in the fun. Whether you have a deck or a simple grassy area, you can sneak in some time to meditate, work your muscles, and enjoy nature. Because it's close to home, you will be more likely to get some yoga into your routine. You could even designate your own space for yoga and add some potted plants, outdoor lighting or candles, or wind chimes.

4. On a Camping Trip or Hike

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Camping and hiking go hand in hand. There are bound to be areas around your campsite that will beckon you to come and try some yoga. As you hike, look for interesting places along the trail to stop and try out a pose. Watch for a spot that inspires you, and spend a little extra time enjoying some yoga there.

5. By the Pool

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If you won't be near a beach or lake, but you still want to experience yoga near water, poolside yoga might be the answer. Whether you have your own pool, access to a friend or family member's pool, or there's a public pool nearby, you'll be able to work up a sweat and then cool off in the refreshing water.

What to Take With You:

Preparation is the key to enjoying an outdoor yoga session. Besides doing a check of the weather forecast and locating a pleasant spot, you can also bring some things to make your experience more enjoyable. Below is a list of suggested items to take on your outdoor session.

- Sunscreen. If you are going to be in the sun, it's essential to bring sunscreen. Practicing yoga early in the day or later in the afternoon when there is less direct sunlight might be best.

- Insect Repellent. It's always good to keep insect repellent with you to keep away the pests. Getting bitten by a mosquito is a quick way to spoil your yoga session.

- A Cooler for Water and Snacks. Be sure to take plenty of water to stay properly hydrated. Rotomolded coolers will keep your ice from melting for an extended time so that your water stays refreshingly cold. Depending on the length of your camping trip/yoga retreat, you might not have to replenish the ice while you're there. You could also pack healthy snacks in it, such as fresh fruit. Chilled berries or peaches will enhance your outdoor yoga experience.

- A Yoga Mat and Towel.

Of course, you will need a thick mat to be comfortable while practicing your poses. Taking an extra towel or two allows you to keep your mat clean. Keep one underneath it and use one to take care of any sweat that you work up.

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