Yoga Outdoors: Removing The Conditions From Your Practice
By: Katie Lee
Why is removing conditions from your yoga practice and your life so important?
On my most recent adventure in Colombia where I had practice a lot of yoga outdoors I met a fellow traveller from North America. After talking for a little bit the subject moved to yoga. He expressed his love of yoga and how much he benefited from his practice…at home. He explained that in no way could he practice yoga outdoors in nature, only at his studio in his home city. He went on to say without his teacher, his mat, his regular yoga room, his yoga community, and without the comfort he was used to there was absolutely no way he could do yoga. Wow. I was speechless. I did not quite know how to respond. At the time I respected his opinion. I did not know him very well and did not know his story. It is his personal life experience and his own practice so it really was none of my business. The conversation flowed in a different direction and I left it at that.
Let go of expectations and conditions in your yoga practice.
After some time and reflecting upon this I think that there is a great lesson to take from it all. In my opinion in order to transform, evolve, and grow in our practice and in our lives we must not place any conditions or expectations on either. Yes a yoga community and studio is a beautiful thing and a great way to connect. Yes nice yoga clothes, mats, and playlists are lovely. But that is not yoga. Yoga is being in nature practicing outdoors if we want. Our yoga practice is something we can take anywhere. It is something so personal that allows us to dig deeper inside ourselves and peel off all the layers. It is something that no matter where we are or what we have around us we can breathe, flow, and connect with the present moment. By breaking through the granthis that put conditions on our practice and on our lives we will find ourselves doing yoga, living life, growing, and evolving beyond our imagination in places we thought were only possible in our dreams.
I have practiced outdoors in more places than I can count.
I am extremely fortunate that I have had the opportunity to take my yoga practice outdoors to so many beautiful places in this world. I have practiced yoga on the white sand beaches facing the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. I have practiced at sunrise overlooking beautiful mountains in the coffee region of Colombia. I have practiced under the shade of a palm tree forest as the warm winds blew off the ocean. I have practiced on the balcony of a private cabin overlooking an enchanting cloud forest in Costa Rica. I have practiced in more amazing places than I can remember and I am forever and always grateful to have had these magical experiences in such incredible parts of the world. My yoga practice has travelled with me to all these wonderful spots however; it has also travelled with me to places that are not quite as “picturesque”. I have also practiced in busy airports with tons of people buzzing about starring and giving me weird looks. I have practiced in tiny sketchy hotel rooms with no windows. I have practiced with muddy stray dogs walking all over my mat. I have practiced without a mat in backyards infested with ants, mosquitos, sand fleas, and insects. I have practiced at sunset with beautiful inspiring souls from all around the world. I have practiced by myself in the dark before a 12-hour bus ride. And I have practiced in more small narrow hallways on dirty hostel floors than I can count. And you know what? I am also forever and always grateful for those practices as well. I have breathed and flowed and moved and laughed and cried and connected and transformed in such special ways. All of it possible because I placed no conditions on my practice or my life and I was free to take my practice outdoors. Wherever and whenever I go I embrace my surroundings, surrender to the present moment, and learn from whatever environment I may find myself in. Namaste