Have you ever thought about doing yoga outdoors? It’s strangely uncommon in the UK but really popular elsewhere in the world. In India and Nepal there are always little pockets of people at sunrise up in the hills Surya Namaskar-ing away. In the US and Japan people do yoga in urban parks, much as they do Tai Chi. In southern Spain and Thailand on the beaches there are groups happily doing the downward dog with no compunction. There’s no embarrassment or self-consciousness – it’s just what you do.
But suggest an open-air yoga class in northern England and you get some funny looks – and it’s not just that it can be a bit nippy ‘oop north’. It seems to be something to do with the English reticence. Either that or everyone is petrified of being seen with their bottom in the air and being perved at! But that could be the case anywhere. And what about all those sweaty bodies out pounding the pavements in running shorts or yomping up the park hillsides for military fitness?
No, it’s something about yoga that British people like to keep in nice, safe, clean and tidy yoga studios or village halls.
Well, I’ve decided to put paid to all that. I’m starting out a branch of ‘extreme’ outdoor yoga activity – a bit like those people who do ironing on tall bridges. Come next summer (and it will be a summer activity!) I’m going to start laying my mat out in green spaces and seeing if I can get people to join me. It’s fabulous. You get all the benefits of yoga and with plenty of fresh air and green space too. What’s not to like?
I’ve already started earlier this year with some guerilla-style outdoor yoga activity in Clitheroe, Lancashire (see pics). It was very bracing, I can tell you. But fantastic doing my Pranayama with a view of the Forest of Bowland.
Who’s going to join me in Roundhay Park next Spring?