5 best places to practice yoga
Updated: May 4
G.O. Yoga! Take your yoga practice with you everywhere you go.
Yoga has a certain stereotype in the west... ultra flexible young women with the perfect outfit and super hero strength. Handstand anyone? Flying pigeon perhaps? The truth is, yoga has nothing to do with outside appearances. True yoga is an inner practice and there is no adjective that can prevent you from being a yogi. If you can breathe, you can do yoga! Yep, you read that right. Close your eyes, take a deep breath. Inhale through your nose, fill your lungs. Exhale, sigh it out from your mouth. Congratulations! You just enjoyed a quick yoga practice.
If you can breathe, you can do yoga!
Ok. So now you're a yogi! Where are the five top places to take your practice?
1.) In line at the grocery store
My personal favorite place to practice yoga is in line. Any line really. We live in a digital world. Maybe you have groceries delivered, online banking, and amazon sends you toilet paper on a schedule? Despite all the modern conveniences, lines are still a part of our reality. So find a line and start practicing!
Tadasana (mountain pose) is the asana (pose) of choice for your line practice. Mostly because the person behind you can't really identify the difference from a leisurely stand, and Tadasana. But hey, if you are the carefree type pop up into bakasana (crow pose) while you wait! For the more modest crowd (aka, me) Tadasana is the way to play.
Start by grounding your feet hip distance apart with toes pointing forward. Gently rock side to side, back and forward, as you find balance. Really press all 4 corners of your feet into the ground. Begin to notice your breathing. Working from the ground up- strengthen your legs by engaging you calfs and thighs; keep a soft bend in the knee. Now engage your core. More then just 'flexing your abs' really engage the entire core of your body (imagine pulling your torso in so far it is no longer touching your shirt). Breathe. Extend your spine on the inhale to grow a little taller, ground down with your feet on the exhale. Roll your shoulders down your back and engage your arms. Keep your neck and face soft. Breathe.
Tadasana is the way to play.
This is a fun one to do with the kids as well, because seriously, who loves a line? Yogis, that's who!
2.) In bed at home
Another great place to bring your practice is into your own bed! Before you fall asleep, or before you get up in the morning, take a few minutes to get in a little yoga. I like to linger in bed when I wake up so morning is my preferred time; find what works for you. The options here are really endless... mostly because you are alone... so you don't have to worry about the clerk at the DMV questioning your sanity for holding crow in line to renew your license!
A gentle spinal twist is always welcome in any practice... It is an especially juicy addition to a boudoir flow. Start by laying in sivasana (corpse pose), find your breath. Add a big stretch and pull your knees into your chest. Think restorative here. Grab pillows and blankets for props; make these moves supported and gentle. On the exhale, drop your knees over to one side, maybe lay your arms to a T and turn your head the opposite direction. G.O. slow and breathe. Move to your breath and twist the opposite direction, hugging knees back into your chest for the transition.
Move to your breath.
From here, follow your body. What is it saying? Do you need more twists, maybe a hip opener? There is no one around to judge you. Just feel it. No one popping up into handstand at the front of the class; no one to notice the gas that slipped out with that twist. Yes, it happens to everyone! Just be you here. That is what makes this one of the best places to practice. There is no place you can be more you then in your own bed!
The thought of making it your own may be exciting or intimidating. You may have a hundred ideas or maybe your laying in a supine twist wondering what to do next. The bright side is the internet is on that phone on your night stand (unless you are my teenage son banned to a flip phone) just google a flow idea! OR! Book a custom flow with #GreenOliveYoga and we can design one together... outside of your bedroom of course, we aren't 'that' kind of company...
3.) At the local park.
The park is another great place to get your flow on. Many yoga companies and private teachers host donation only classes in the local park to provide cost efficient options, including #GreenOliveYoga. If group classes don't fit your schedule, you can flow your own way with friends or while your kids play.
The park is a great place to enjoy nature, breathe some fresh air and enjoy your moving meditation. The grass provides some cushion so you can use a towel if you haven't invested in a yoga mat.
In fact, the grass is exactly what makes the park one of the top five places to practice. Walking barefoot in the grass has amazing grounding benefits. So take off those shoes, find your breath and plug into the healing benefits of the earth. Science is starting to catch up with ancient knowledge confirming the benefits of grounding for us westerners. If you would like to learn more, this is a great article to start your research! https://chopra.com/articles/grounding-the-human-body-the-healing-benefits-of-earthing
Take off those shoes, find your breath and plug into the healing benefits of the earth.
4.) At the beach.
The beach is not an option for everyone, mainly because not everyone lives near a beach. As a Florida girl, I love the beach... I mean LOVE. It is border line obsession but what can I say? It's my happy place. This being said... I don't love a physically demanding flow on the sand. To each their own but the sand moves under your feet and this messes with alignment and boohoo... my knees can't handle it.
Sand aside... a relaxing flow on the beach is a little slice of heaven... or whatever term you use to describe a really happy place in accordance with your religion and cultural beliefs... it's 2018, I get it. Balance poses are also fun to play around with on the beach. Don't believe me? Join Wednesday Wind Down with #greenoliveyoga and see for yourself!
The sand and ocean are also perfect for grounding, similar to the grass at the park. If you aren't in the mood for asanas (yoga postures), the beach is wonderful for mindful meditation. Just feel the elements: the breeze on your skin, the sand at your feet, the taste of the salty air, the sound of the crashing waves. Next time you head to the beach take a few minutes of mindfulness to fill yourself back up. You can thank me later!
5.) At your local yoga studio
Last, but certainly not least... studio classes. If you have been to a studio class, then you know what I am saying. If you haven't... check it out. Studio's can be expensive and sometimes intimidating but once you get on your mat and move with your breath in a group... magic really can happen. I started my practice at home watching videos but it wasn't until I attended my first Yin class that I really got that yoga high. There is just something special about moving and breathing in unison with a room full of people!
Yoga is so much more then the postures you see online. There are eight limbs of yoga starting with Yamas (internal ethics). The physical postures associated with the term yoga only compose one limb. Yoga is a personal practice that can honestly change your life. No matter where your favorite place to practice is... just remember... you can do yoga no matter what adjectives you associate with the practice. Just breathe!