Go Outside and Play!

Go Outside and Play!

Have you taken your workout outside yet? Summer may be winding down, but there’s still plenty of good weather for hiking, biking, kayaking, and letting your inner ball pro loose on the local diamond. Moving your body aerobically while negotiating the unexpected–uneven ground, moving water, natural hills–can be both challenging and exhilarating. It’s a great way to integrate body, mind, and spirit. And the scenery is much better than a wall of TVs!

This short sequence is intended to prepare your joints for motion and warm your big muscle groups for serious outdoor activity. With an emphasis on strengthening the inhale, it will also help ensure that you’ve got the breath support and energy to climb the summit or power through the last 5 miles.

Although we’ve photographed it indoors, this mostly standing sequence can be done outdoors. Take care of your knees by using a grassy patch or your jacket to cushion them when you do the kneeling posture. (My lovely model, Gigi Boetto, who teaches yoga in Brooklyn and NYC, is using a blanket here.) You can also stay off your knees entirely by putting your front foot on a park bench. In that case, keep the back leg straight, but don’t lock your knee.

The combination of simple, strong postures and a disciplined approach to the breath will supercharge the energetic effect of the practice. You may be surprised by how far your body takes you. Cool down with a slow walkabout, then repeat the table-dog-child sequence to neutralize your spine and clear out the kinks. And hey, let’s be careful out there!

A Caveat: Simple is not the same as easy. Breathwork with movement packs a definite wallop! Do not force your breath, or allow the pressure in your chest to build to the point where you are uncomfortable. If needed, pause for a small sip of breath here and there. For any heart condition or unregulated high- or low-blood pressure, check with your doctor before you try this sequence. Once you get the okay, start at 75% of your capacity and build slowly from there.

Let me know how you feel after going through this invigorating sequence in a comment below!