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Why I Wish I Tried Outdoor Yoga Earlier

Why I Wish I Tried Outdoor Yoga Earlier

I’ve been a yoga fanatic for some time and was getting to a pretty comfortable place at my studio until a friend invited me to go do an outdoor session with her one Saturday morning. It was phenomenal! Why hadn’t I tried it earlier?! The poses and movements I thought I was good at were suddenly so much harder and I was stumbling all over the place. But I didn’t feel like a failure, instead I felt like I had hit a new level with my yoga. In case you’re still unsure as to whether you want to try outdoor yoga, check out these following benefits. If I had known about these benefits beforehand, I would have tried outdoor yoga far sooner!

It Aligns You With Nature

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    Yeah, I know, it’s an obvious benefit—but just wait. This connection isn’t just for nature buffs, by practicing outside you can help with certain mental ailments. It has been shown that being outside can help with depression, stress, dementia, and your overall wellbeing. Practicing yoga outdoors can not only be a physical benefit for you but can also help with mental struggles. If you find yourself overly stressed by family life or work, try taking a morning or two to practice your yoga poses in the park or even in your backyard.

    It Increases Skill and Muscles for Balance

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      When I first started yoga, my balance was terrible! After months of practice, I found that I struggled less, but then I tried outdoor yoga. Talk about a shocker! You often think grass lawns are pretty flat, but my mat was rippled all over the place by the bouncy grass stalks and random little rocks or bumps in the ground. Since starting outdoor yoga, my balance has improved exponentially. In the gym, I often used certain spots on the wall or ceilings to focus to help with my balance, but almost everything outside was moving so I had to dig deeper into my muscles to keep steady.

      It Develops Inner Strength and Stability

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        Doing yoga outdoors tends to push you to become one with the wind and atmosphere. When you’re outside, you can’t really control the environment (or temperature!) which means that you begin to gain more strength and stability because you aren’t in such a quiet and perfect setting! Being outdoors forces us to accept these natural elements (noises, breeze, sun heat, etc.) which in turn helps us become more stable and stronger in more than just the physical aspects of our lives and bodies. Don’t forget that you may want to switch up your yoga pants for outdoor yoga. If it’s going to be warmer and you don’t have the choice of turning down the AC, you may want to get a pair of capri yoga pants when practicing outside.

        Oh! And by the way, another great benefit of outdoor yoga is that it improves your lung capacity. Your body has a 6-liter lung capacity and being outside often makes you want to breath deeper to get more oxygen in. This then breaks up pollutants or toxins that get trapped in your alveoli.

        It’s More of a Challenge

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          When practicing outside, there are more things to get distracted by. With so many variables and distractions you will need to focus harder on breathing and balance. This will improve your mental strength and clarity. Along with this, attempting to balance your poses in grass or sand can also produce more of a challenge! Because of uneven ground, little critters, or even the sun shinning in your eyes, you will need to try harder to keep your balance and focus on your poses.

          Most of us already know that yoga is a great form of exercise, not just for extremely active people either. And if you’ve already tapped into those great benefits, maybe it’s time to move up to the next level. If you’re looking for more a challenge or feel like you have hit a stalemate with your yoga, try switching up your studio time with a few more outdoor sessions. You will be so surprised by the growth and mental benefits!

          If you’re still looking for more information on the benefits of practicing outdoor yoga, take a look at the articles here and here.

          Featured photo credit: Stickney Brook Yoga 386/Matthew Ragan via flic.kr

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          Bethany Cleg

          Photographer, Entrepreneur

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          Published on June 7, 2019

          10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

          10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

          Having a hard time going to the gym? Fear no more!

          In this article, we’ll be breaking down 10 in home lower body workouts anyone can try at home and their exercises. No gear needed for these workouts, just some space and a cup water waiting for your disposal.

          There’re 3 main parts in this article:

          If you’re familiar with the basic lower body exercises, just get into the first section 10 Lower Body Workouts That Can Be Done Anywhere right away.

          If you want more guidance on the basics, check out the second section Lower Body Exercises Breakdown.

          And the last section is about what you should do before and after working out.

          10 Lower Body Workouts That Can Be Done Anywhere

          If you’re familiar with the basic lower body exercises, just read on this section.

          If you’d like to have more guidance on each exercise listed in these 10 workouts, take a look at the following part Lower Body Exercises Breakdown.

          1. The Starter Workout

          3 sets of 8-12 reps of:

          • Squat
          • Single Leg Deadlift
          • Glute Bridge

          (30 sec to 2 min rest in between each set)

          2. The 7 Minute Workout

          3 rounds of 30 seconds of each exercise:

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          • Walking Lunges
          • Quarter Squat
          • Step Up
          • Single Leg Deadlift

          (1 min rest in between each round)

          3. The Unilateral Workout

          4 sets of 16 reps of:

          • Reverse Lunges
          • Single Leg Deadlift
          • Skater Squat
          • Single Leg Glute Bridge

          (30 sec to 1 min rest in between each set)

          4. The Endurance Workout

          2 sets of 20-50 reps of:

          • Squat
          • Walking Lunge
          • Single Leg Deadlift
          • Glute Bridge

          (1-2 min rest in between each set)

          5. The Back To Back Lower Body Workout

          5 rounds of 10 to 20 seconds of each exercise:

          • Skater Squat
          • Step Up
          • Single Leg Deadlift
          • Single Leg Glute Bridge
          • Quarter Squat

          (30 min rest in between each round)

          6. Strength Lower Body Workout

          5 to 10 sets of 4 reps of:

          • Walking Lunge
          • Single Leg Deadlift
          • Squat

          (30 sec to 2 mins of rest time in between set)

          7. Glute Burner Workout

          4 sets of 10-30 reps of:

          • Walking Lunge
          • Single Leg Deadlift
          • Single Leg Glute Bridge
          • Quarter Squat

          (1 min of rest time in between set)

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          8. The Advance Lower Body Workout

          3 rounds of 20 seconds of:

          • Squat
          • Walking Lunge
          • Skater Squat
          • Reverse Lunge
          • Glute Bridge
          • Single Leg Deadlift

          (2 mins of rest time in between set)

          9. The Quick Lower Body Workout

          2 sets of 10 reps of:

          • Reverse Lunge
          • Step Up
          • Single Leg Deadlift

          10. The 100 Repetition Challenge

          2 sets of 50 reps on each leg of:

          • Walking Lunge
          • Single Leg Deadlift

          (4 mins of rest time in between set)

          Lower Body Exercises Breakdown

          Here’s the breakdown of the lower body exercises[1] that you found in the workouts listed in the first section of this article.

          1. Squat

            A squat is a compound movement which entails the recruitment of a majority of your lower body (quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, spinal erectors).

            How to squat:

            Feet shoulder width apart or a little wider. Toes pointed slightly out, arms out in front of you. Sit into your heels till you hit parallel with your butt and knee, drive through the heels, return to starting position and repeat.

            2. Walking Lunges

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              A lunge is a complex movement which recruits mainly the lower body.

              The walking lunges are a harder version of a split squat which is stationary and then adds the component of stepping and keeping balance which engages the gluteus medius as well as allowing a larger range of motion.

              3. Reverse Lunge

                A reverse lunge is very similar to the split squat but instead, after every rep, you are returning to the starting position and stepping back.

                By reverse stepping, you are allowing for a better emphasis on the hamstrings and gluteal muscles as opposed to the quadriceps muscles in a forward stepping lunge.

                4. Quarter Squat

                  A quarter squat is the top ¼ movement of a squat. This will work mainly the gluteal muscles as it emphasizes the hip extension and not a lot of range of motion on the quadriceps muscles.

                  5. Skater Squat

                    A skater squat is a unilateral variation of the squat, this squat really engages the gluteus medius and hamstrings as it works unilateral stability and hip flexion which fires both the hamstrings and glutes.

                    6. Step Up

                      The Step Up is the greatest balance of getting the glutes and quadriceps muscles firing. Doing Step Ups will not only get the glutes going, but the quadriceps as well.

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                      7. Glute Bridge

                        Glute Bridges are a great way to nearly isolate the glutes and build a great butt. This entire movement works through hip extension which the main movement of the gluteal muscles.

                        8. Single Leg Glute Bridge

                          Single leg glute bridge ensures that we are evenly building the glutes and not relying too heavily on our dominant leg and symmetrical butt. The step up can be done in a chair or a step in the stairs

                          9. Single Leg Deadlift

                            Single Leg RDL’s engage that entire booty and hamstrings, especially the gluteus medius due to its unilateral stability property. This is a great way to spice up some routine deadlifts.

                            Before & After Working Out

                            Before engaging in any physical activity, consult a doctor if you have not worked out in years. However, if you want to go at it without consulting a doctor, start slow and build your way up. Even though it’s home workout, use dynamic stretching or some light jogging[2] as a warm up before starting the lower body workouts.

                            Finally, at the end of the lower body workout, use static stretching to reduce injuries and to calm down your heart rate gradually.

                            Featured photo credit: Gesina Kunkel via unsplash.com

                            Reference

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