Taking your Asana practice to the next level – Find the strength and happiness of practicing outdoors

I love Asana practice.  I love it anytime and any place I can get the chance to steal those precious moments and unroll my mat.  No matter when or where I’ve practiced yoga, and trust me I practiced in some unusual places and situations, I always feel better, lighter and more peaceful.  In fact, I would go as far as to say that I’ve never had an asana practice in my life that I didn’t enjoy.

However, sometimes that magical combination of tranquility, happiness, strength, concentration and beauty merge into a string of seemingly endless moments and elevate your practice to a level beyond your day-to-day mat time.  For me, those times are almost exclusively when I find myself lucky enough to practice outdoors.

Creating an enjoyable environment for yoga is important, be it an indoor studio or your living room.  However it is not as important as the practice itself.  I’ve done yoga in a busy military barracks in a war zone while listening to incoming mortar rounds.  You can create that concentration and in fact a “peaceful” environment anywhere and anytime you allow your mind to become quiet

However, sometimes the surroundings of our practice can accentuate that inner quieting of the mind and allow ourselves to feel as if we’re lifting up and off our mats through no effort of our own.  Of course a perfect combination of temperature and locale is needed and a beautiful surrounding land or seascape will help significantly.

The scriptures teach us that the ideal place for Asana practice is in a sattvic environment and I for one will always take advantage of it when I find myself lucky enough to come across it.  That is the time you’ll see me running for my mat and kicking off my shoes off as I relax and allow the beauty, peace and strength in nature to mirror itself in my practice.