What a year 2020 has been. Over the past few months, I find myself in serious need of exercise and stress relief in equal measure. Is that you too? It may be time to consider the practice of yoga. Not only does yoga help with flexibility, but studies have shown it can also help alleviate stress. Couple that with the health benefits of getting outside and you have a win win situation for taking care of yourself. I want to share with you a few things that help me do yoga at home and outdoors these days.
Doing Yoga Outdoors
I’ve done yoga outdoors at the beach just after sunrise, during work conferences by the pool, and in my own backyard. All are great places to do yoga. One day I may even add baby goat yoga to this list.
I am still a bit leery about going to the gym for group classes like yoga or barre, so I’m finding outdoor yoga (while the weather is nice) continues to be a great option for me. It helps prevent excuses to exercise without the need to buy/rent expensive gym equipment. I’ve owned treadmills and elliptical machines in the past that have served more like clothes hangers than exercise machines. I prefer a yoga mat to all of that, plus it fits in a suitcase.
Here in Oklahoma City, there are several options for organized outdoor yoga including Yoga in the Park at a different park each week, Botanical Balance at the Myriad Gardens, and Thursday night yoga at Scissortail Park. Do a search in your area as there may be something like it near you.
Free Yoga Apps
I honestly love saying “there’s a free app for that” and it applies to free yoga apps. It doesn’t matter if you have iOS or an Android, there are plenty of options for both free and paid options. I found Oprah magazine’s list of 9 best yoga apps for your at-home workout to be most helpful.
Yoga for Beginners
This is the iOS app I am currently using and am thoroughly enjoying. It is highly recommended for beginners and all classes are free. Unlike some other yoga apps I tried, this app has a lot of class and goal options. After really hard days, I find the Yoga for Text Neck helps after work, and the 9-minute Bedtime Yoga is a good way to wind down before bed.
I find that a yoga mat is essential for yoga anywhere. I’ve used a towel before, but it’s just not adequate. I really like this natural cork mat from Scoria. The company sent this to try out. It’s a bit thicker than the last mat I had at 4.5mm (they offer a range of thicknesses) and has a floral design that I find really pretty. I opted for cork because it’s naturally anti-slip and anti-microbial. My hands or feet don’t lose grip as I sweat. I find that water/sweat actually helps improve gripe on this. The cork is also harvested sustainably which is important to me.
Scoria donates 10 plant-based meals for every mat purchased. You can see all their mat designs for adults and children on their website here.
I practically live in yoga pants these days. I prefer to wear yoga pants and a loose tee or long sleeve shirt to lounge around the house, do yard work, exercise, and do yoga. Plus if I’m outside, a long sleeve can be useful for sun and mosquito protection.
I love that prAna products are sustainably made, many have fair trade certification and offer organic fabric options. They are also championing what they call Positive Change for clothing in much the same way we look at sustainable food. You can read more about Positive Change. I recently ordered a new pair of Electa leggings with double pockets on each upper thigh. This Cozy Up Long Sleeve Tee is a wardrobe staple for me and because is made with a hemp blend fabric has natural odor-reducing qualities. I also got not one but two Tri-Thermal Threads Full-Zip sweaters, one in Nocturnal (blue), and one in light grey. They are perfect for almost any outdoor activity with the knit exterior and fleece interior. They have a nice weight to them and keep me warm. Plus with zipped pockets, nothing falls out.
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Even when working out at home or in the backyard, it’s important to stay hydrated. I honestly carry a water bottle where ever I go. It’s eco-friendly and eliminates the need to buy single-use plastic bottles when away from home. I hope you are doing the same. Lately, I’m carrying this insulated bottled from Well Told Designs who designs map glassware and drinkware. This particular one is a topographical map of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Note: I mention this one particularly because I’m shopping for holiday gifts and am sure you are too. I’ve gifted wine glasses and barware from Well Told over the years. I was able to choose personalized locations that the receiver loved because it was personal to them; a favorite mountain to hike, the city they honeymooned, the college town they lived in, etc.