5 Musts for Doing Yoga Outside by Sarah Ezrin


ORIGINAL PUBLICATION 7/1/21, but there's still a month left of Summer for you to use the tips below!!!


There are a lot of reasons to go outside during Summer. Add yoga to that list!

Summer is officially underway, and it's a great time to take everything outside, including your yoga practice!


After a year and a half of being stuck inside and kept apart from our family and friends due to the covid-19 pandemic, Summer 2021 is already proving to be a not-to-be-missed affair.


Several Independence Day gatherings and fireworks shows which were canceled last year due to attendance restrictions, are resuming across the United States. This includes the White House, where President Biden is hosting a special cookout for first responders.  


As of late May/early June, the CDC was still emphasizing that outdoor gatherings and visits are safer than those indoors, even for those vaccinated. Thankfully, Summer is a great time to be outside and with good reason.


Health benefits of being outside

Did you know that the average American spends 90% of their time indoors? And that statistic was obtained before covid-19!


Spending time outside does not only help you get that perfect summer glow, but it may also be crucial to our health. The sun provides the essential vitamin, vitamin D. This is something many people seem to be deficient in these days. It is said that just 5-15 minutes of sun exposure, 2-3 times a week can greatly increase people’s D3 levels. Now, imagine an entire summer’s worth!


Sunlight is also linked to increasing serotonin levels, a key neurotransmitter in mood regulation.  Many mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety tend to increase in the period between Fall to Winter as that is when the days are shorter, and people spend almost all of their time inside. There is even a season-specific mood disordered called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is when people have recurring depressive episodes every winter. One of the most effective treatments of SAD, is ultraviolet light therapy. Meaning that the sun can literally make you happy.


Being outside and in nature, has also been shown to lower blood pressure, improve sleep, and it has even been proven to help fight cancer. Not only is it fun to be in the sun, but it is also healing.


Take your yoga practice outside

Unfortunately, once we reach adulthood those the days of summer camp and school vacation go by the wayside. Instead, most of us are still working our same hours whether it be June or November. And back-to-back zoom meetings can make it nearly impossible to steal away a few minutes of sunshine.


One way to motivate yourself to get outside, is to transition your days outside.  Make an outdoor office. Eat lunch in the garden. And of course, move your yoga practice to the garden or your deck!


Here are 5 important considerations for shifting your practice from the studio and into the sun:


  1. Use sunscreen, but only after 15 minutes, and then apply it every 2 hours after that: There are some experts purporting that part of people’s Vitamin D deficiency may be linked to an increased use of sunscreen. Of course, we use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, but recent studies have been showing that the benefit of skin cancer prevention outweighs the risk of vitamin D deficiency. Some recommendations are to get around 15-minutes of sun exposure, prior to applying sunscreen and to choose sunscreens that have a high UVA-PF, which allows a much higher vitamin D synthesis lower UVA-PF sunscreens.


  1. Forget your mat on purpose: Earthing is a very real thing. Like, it’s scientifically proven! It is the practice of going barefoot whether on sand or soil in order to absorb the earth’s electrons. Instead of putting a rubber mat and disconnecting yourself, try going matless.  Also, putting a mat onto the grass doesn’t guarantee a steadier surface. In some ways, it can be even more unstable, as they are not always able to lie flat. Instead, using the natural ground is steadier, though it requires a lot more workd from our core muscles.


  1. Wear long sleeves: This may seem counter-intuitive when it’s hot out but wearing long sleeves can help prevent sun damage and may keep your body temperature cooler. Thankfully, Athleta makes super cute long sleeves, like the Momentum Top which comes in a variety of fun colors, including dusk purple and teal. This is a great top to do yoga in, as it is light weight.


  1. Bring a light jacket: Again, you may be wondering why the heck you would need a jacket when it’s the hottest time of year, but having spent time in many places across the world during the summer months, I can tell you firsthand, that summer does not mean guaranteed sunshine and cloudlessness. In fact, it often means unpredictable weather, like summer storms.


  1. Use nature as your playlist: It may be tempting to want to bring a small stereo or plug in your noise-cancelling AirPods, but being outside means you have a natural playlist right at your fingertips (or ear canal). Of course, if you are doing yoga in a busy city, you may choose music over the construction and traffic soundscape, but if you are in a natural setting, like a park or the beach, use the sounds around you to help you drop in and be present.




Thanks @Sarah_E I especially appreciated the tips for long sleeves and jacket! Summer in the San Francisco Bay Area does not always = hot sun. Great idea to always be prepared for changeable climate.


One other thing I am also working on these days is relying on Nature for the soundtrack. I run with music to help motivate me, but when it comes to walks, I've been letting myself listen to the birds 🐦 chirp!


Love the Earthing tip, too. I don't do it enough because I'm cautious not to smudge my pedicure 💅...but it may very well be worth it!


@Marisa  I mean the city is it’s own soundscape 🤪


I find there is such a difference with moving things outside. Yoga, journaling, work calls etc. It's more enjoyable, relaxing and fun!

Are you somewhere you can be outside right now? It's pouring here for next few weeks, but second it clears up, I'm getting back out there!!!