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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

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          Last Updated on April 2, 2020

          10 Quick Easy Workouts To Lose Arm Fat At Home

          10 Quick Easy Workouts To Lose Arm Fat At Home

          Flabby arms are something a lot of us have to tend to. If you find yourself buying a sweater or cardigan to go with your tank top or usually opt for the long-sleeved dress, then you’re not alone. Usually a result of genes, general excess fat or just ageing, it seems difficult to lose arm fat. The fat in our arms accumulates mainly around the triceps – the muscles on the back of your upper arm – and are prone to getting flabby if not exercised regularly.

          What we eat can also play a part in the extent of the jiggle so eating a good, healthy balanced diet as well as keeping well hydrated can put you on the right track. Resistance exercises are the most effective way to blast that underarm fat as well as strengthen, shape and tone your muscles. You can always go down to the gym and work up a sweat but who has time for that? If you want a convenient and quick alternative then you can easily manage an effective routine in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a set of dumbbells and you can start toning up those bingo wings with these 10 easy workouts.

          1. Tricep dips

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            Works: Triceps

            • Hands must be positioned shoulder width apart on a secured chair or bench.
            • Position your bum in front of the bench with feet hip-width apart on the floor and legs bent.
            • Straighten out your arms a little, keeping a slight bend from the elbow so to put more emphasis on the tricep and less stress on the elbow.
            • Keeping your back close to the bench, slowly lower your body so that your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
            • Once in this position slowly push off your hands back to the starting position.
            • Do 10-15 reps.

            2. Bicep curls

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              Works: Biceps and shoulders

              • Start off with your feet hip-distance apart, holding one dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing out.
              • Starting with your left arm, bend your elbow to slowly bring the weight up to your shoulder holding the position for 5 seconds.
              • Slowly release the elbow and straighten your arm back down to the starting position.
              • Repeat the moves on the right side.
              • Complete 3 sets of 10-15 reps for each arm.

              3. Push ups

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                Works: Triceps and Deltoids

                • Lying face down, place your hands on the floor roughly shoulder-width apart.
                • Tuck your toes under and gently lift your body up, pushing through your hands and making sure not to lock your elbows.
                • Slowly bend your elbows bringing your face roughly 2-3 inches from the ground.
                • Slowly push back up through your arms. If this is difficult then do the same move but keeping your knees on the floor.
                • Repeat 10-15 times.

                4. Tricep Kickbacks

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                  Works: Triceps

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                  • Place a weight in each hand and kneel down onto the floor with your toes tucked under.
                  • Bend your upper body forward from the hips up and bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle.
                  • Extend both your arms backwards while your palms are facing each other.
                  • Feel the tension in the triceps and return to the starting position.
                  • Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

                  5. Plank

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                    Works: Chest, Shoulders, Biceps and Core

                    • Start face-down on the floor, resting on your forearms and knees.
                    • Step your feet out so that they are slightly apart and come into the plank position.
                    • Make sure your body is straight, parallel to the floor and your bum is tucked in.
                    • Pull your abs in and hold the position for as long as you can. Try to aim for 20-30 seconds and build up to a minute.
                    • Repeat 3 times.

                    6. Tricep Extensions

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                      Works: Triceps

                      • Stand on a mat with your feet hip-width apart.
                      • Hold one dumbbell with both hands behind your head, bending the elbows.
                      • Bring the weight towards the ceiling, straightening your arms above your head.
                      • Lower back to starting position.
                      • Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.

                      7. Lateral Arm Raises

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                        Works: Deltoids

                        • Stand with feel hip-width apart. With arms down the side of your body, hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing in.
                        • Starting with your left side, inhale and slowly raise your arm so that it’s parallel to the floor. Make sure not to lock your elbow by keeping a slight bend.
                        • Make sure your arm is straight and palm is facing the floor.
                        • Exhale and slowly bring your arm back down to your side.
                        • Repeat on the right side.
                        • Do 10-15 reps on each side and two sets.

                        8. Overhead Press

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                          Works: Shoulders

                          • Stand up, lining your feet with your hips and hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing out.
                          • Bring the weights to your shoulders.
                          • Keep your core muscles tight and straighten your arms above you.
                          • Slowly bring your arms back down to your shoulders.
                          • Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

                          9. Bent Over Row

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                            Works: Triceps and Biceps 

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                            • Place your feet shoulder-width apart.
                            • Bend your knees and and then bend your upper body forward from the hips making sure you keep your back nice and straight.
                            • Make sure your hands are straight and placed under your shoulders.
                            • Bend the elbows back while lifting your arms towards the sides of your chest, pulling your shoulder blades towards each other.
                            • Slowly lower the weights in a controlled movement and feel the tension at your triceps.
                            • Repeat 10-15 times.

                            10. Skull Crushers

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                              Works: Triceps

                              • While holding a dumbbell in each hand, lie on your back with your knees bent.
                              • Slowly raise your arms so they are above your chest, making sure your elbows are straight but not locked.
                              • Slowly lower both arms toward your head, bending your elbows to 90 degrees as the dumbbells reach the mat. Aim to lower your weights so they are on either side of your head  with elbows bent and pressing in toward your head (being careful not to hit yourself in the face).
                              • Lift your arms back to starting position.
                              • Complete 2 or 3 sets, 10-15 reps each.

                              Featured photo credit: Maddi Bazzocco via unsplash.com

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