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Yoga is great, not just for the physical benefits but also for the empowerment of your mind and body it teaches. But have you ever considered taking your yoga practice off the mat and into more unconventional locations? Try the following:
Given how yoga poses and shapes often resemble what we find in nature, it might seem counterintuitive that we practice it indoors. Outdoor yoga cooperatives are popping up in many major cities. If your studio routine is starting to feel a little stale, you could try your practice in the great outdoors. You also might be amazed at the change in your breath work when you try outdoor yoga. The outdoors take your focus and meditation to another level — there is so much to take in; spending time with Mother Nature helps you become more centered.
Hot Tub Yoga
You may have tried Bikram or hot yoga, but have you tried hot tub yoga? Hot water not only helps dilate your blood vessels, it makes stretching easier and loosens your joints. Warm water was used by the ancient Greeks for its positive effects on the mind and body. When you're soaking in warm water, the body sends more blood to the frontal cortex of the brain, improving your mental cognition. In yoga, a heightened consciousness is essential, so hot tub yoga is a great way to take your practice to the next level. Visit the Hot Tub Works blog for more info on how soaking in a hot tub affects the brain.
David Romanelli began an unconventional yoga class that incorporates fine dining. After a yoga class, the attendees are invited to enjoy a slow meal, applying the awareness achieved during the yoga class. Read this New York Times article for more about Romanelli and his foodie yoga.
Traffic Jam Yoga
Few things are as frustrating as being stuck in traffic, so if you're a passenger, use that time to focus on your breathing, cross your legs, and straighten your back. It's probably best to stick with arm and breathing movements, but it will certainly make the commute more bearable.
You may not have ever thought about doing yoga inside a church before, but Grace Cathedral in San Francisco holds a yoga session at 6:15 p.m. every Tuesday, open to all ages and skill levels. The Vibiana, a former cathedral in Los Angeles, has also been known to hold yoga events. Both are incredibly beautiful structures and offer a unique vibrance and sound. Even if there is no such class in your area, you might decide to take your personal practice on a field trip, and enjoy a beautiful public structure.
More Benefits of Yoga
Yoga has been shown to help improve general health, heal aches and pains, and help fight illness. It can also improve posture, prevent cartilage breakdown, better your bone health, drop your blood pressure, help with focus and attention, improve your balance and coordination, help with sleep ... and the list goes on. But doing yoga in a studio or on a mat at home each day might feel redundant. There's a kind of yoga for every soul — see which one fits you best.