Ask me where I think the best place to practice yoga is? My answer: anywhere. Anywhere and everywhere! Especially the wilderness. Especially in nature.
Yoga has been the sole form of movement that has enabled me to listen to my body and respond with what it needs. Yoga has allowed me to slow down, notice, accept and maybe even augment aspects of my life that feel disjointed or inauthentic.
Whether you have five or 50 minutes, these simple yoga poses are mere stretches you can take in your body while in nature. Use trees and roots as props, thanking the earth that holds you for providing a sense of peace, quiet and solitude apart from our busy days.
This is one of my favorites. It’s easy, and can be done anywhere including the shower, your driveway or in the midst of summiting a mountain!
In tadasana, place your feet directly below your hips. Firmly root through all four corners of your feet. To find center in this pose, shift your weight around in small circles to find equal grounding into the earth. Find stillness. Imagine energy traveling up through the earth, energizing your legs. Engage your thighs and your kneecaps lift. Spin your inner thighs back. Shoulders are stacked over your hips and drawn back and down. Open through your heart. Shine your palms forward, extend each finger and engage your arms.
You might think that you’re merely standing upright in this position. Yes, that’s true BUT you’re standing with grounded awareness, stillness and engagement in so many muscles in your body. Deepen your breath in this pose and connect to your body’s five senses. Allow yourself to slow down and reconnect to the earth below and around you.
Ashta Chandrasana/ Crescent Moon:
From tadasana, sweep your arms overhead and interlace the fingers. Create a steeple grip with pointer fingers.
As in tadasana, ground your weight equally through both feet and draw your hands over to one side. Lengthen both sides of your waist. Engage your abdominal muscles. Gaze remains forward or up towards your hands. Switch directions.
Ashta Chandrasana/Crescent High Lunge:
In this high lunge, the back leg remains strong and engaged, balancing on the ball of the foot.
The front knee bends at a 90 degree angle. Arms reach overhead and hands are either in a steeple grip or apart, palms facing each other. Gaze is towards the sky, but if this causes any neck discomfort, the head stays neutral an
d eye gaze is forward.
I love this pose for the beach or after reaching the top of a mountain overlooking a beautiful panorama. In this pose, think about breathing space into your hips and opening your heart skyward by lengthening through both sides of the body. Just be careful not to practice this one on the ice- you could end up in an unwanted split!
Goddess pose is another one of my favorites to practice on a rock surface, in a field or on the beach! Goddess pose is a powerful and strong stance that opens the hips and strengthens the legs.
Place your feet in a wide stance and knock the heels in, toes point out. As if you were to sit your bum in between your heels, bend deeply into the knees.
Keep your shoulders directly above your hips, torso open.
I love taking my arms into “goal post” or “cactus” variation. To do this, take the arms out wide and bend the elbows at a 90 degree angle.
And a note to keep your knees safe: glance down to make sure they are not jutting your knees out over your toes. Instead, keep the knees directly above the ankles so that your big toe is visible.
I love to connect with the trees and utilize them as a prop!
Although this pose is not a traditional yoga posture, it helps open the chest and stretch the shoulders.
Take one arms out to your side and place the palm up against the tree, fingertips pointing behind you. You can gently turn your body in the opposite direction to deepen the stretch, but be sure to do this slowly. You don’t want to over extend your shoulder!