6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Nature

One of the best things about our yoga practice is that it can be done almost anywhere—we don’t even need a mat to bust out a Vinyasa flow, just our bodies and our breath.

With spring in full bloom and summer well on its way, it’s tempting to feel like we want to be outside all the time, practicing yoga and playing our favorite outdoor sports while soaking up the long-missed sunshine. Practicing outside and enjoying the outdoors offers us an opportunity to break up our routines and connect to the Earth. Research shows that being outside not only improves our moods, but increases our sense of relaxation and focus.

But it’s always possible to have too much of a good thing, so before you start spending 24/7 outdoors, check out these tips to avoid outdoor burnout.

1. Pick a spot that you can be comfortable in for an extended period.

Constant sunshine may seem like a good idea—especially when we’re craving vitamin D after a long winter—but too much sun can lead to exhaustion, dehydration, and sunburns. Choose a place that has an option for you to be in the sun as much as you'd like, that also allows you to take refuge in the shade.

2. Head outside during a comfortable time of day.

The sun is at its hottest and highest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., making that time the most likely for a sunburn or heat exhaustion. Unless you’re hanging out in heavy shade, schedule your outdoor time either before or after this period.

3. Connect with the environment around you.

Our yoga practice teaches us to be in union with every breath and the movements of our bodies. Being outside invites us to connect with the movements of nature: Listen to the sounds around you. Feel the air and wind on your body. Notice the sensations of the sun on your skin. In this moment, you are at one—in union—with the outdoors. How do you feel?

4. If you’re practicing yoga or exercising, start with the basics before you go "all out" with your routine.

Find any uneven spots or distracting areas in your space in Mountain Pose or with some simple lunges before you go all out with arm balances or a full workout. Once you’re comfortable with your space, feel free to go all in and enjoy the added challenge of practicing on a new surface.

5. Anticipate and bring any supplies that you may need to be comfortable.

Trees will provide natural shade, but sunglasses or a hat are a great way to protect your eyes and face. A towel can serve as an alternative yoga mat or a soft space to take a nap. Remember a water bottle to stay hydrated, and some sunscreen to protect against those warm rays.

6. Set the tone of your space.

The sounds, sights, and smells of nature can be the best background; or, if you’re in a city park, can serve as more distractions. Bring along your music and headphones and anything you need to make your space as relaxing—if not more so—than the indoors.

What are your tips for enjoying the outdoors while staying safe and comfortable? Share in the comments below!


Biopic

Kristin Diversi is a star-child. She is convinced that she has control over the space-time continuum, but she has a hard time remembering to eat breakfast. A unicorn/monkey hybrid, she spends her days hopscotching dreams and moonbeams. After graduating magna cum laude with a BA in History and an MS in Nutrition, she delighted her parents and the student loan companies by dec...READ MORE