We are big fans of the great outdoors.
While recently in southern Germany's stunning Black Forest I felt like practising some outdoor yoga, and this simple, forest-inspired sequence came to me. It works well for walkers, trekkers, runners and outdoor adventurers.
You can do it as part of your walk (or at the end) to keep your body feeling strong and open, your senses alert and your heart fully appreciative of all the beauty around you.
Breathe deep and take in all that rejuvenating forest air. Stay in each pose for up to five full breaths in and out.
1. Stretch out
Come into downward facing dog to give the backs of your legs and lower back some length and relief. Invert to keep your mind clear, gently engage your core and take some weight into your upper body and arms to balance out the leg and core work of walking.
It feels good to align and spread muscular engagement through the whole body with plank pose. Hold steady and take the little variation I have here if you wish: one-legged plank on both sides.
3. Breathe in and expand
Root down through the feet and legs as you take the arms up, feeling an expansion through the chest and mid/upper back. Keep the shoulders soft, and open them some more with the second variation here, with hands interlocked behind you. Repeat on the other side.
4. Twist it out
Keep the sides of your torso and your back happy with this reverse side-angle pose. Palms together in the centre of the chest. Your lower elbow acts as a lever to open up your chest and back. Both sides.
5. Centre and release
Consolidate. Say hello to your hips with chair pose. Feel the symmetry in this pose. Toes spread, weight in the heels, insteps lifting. Knees and inner thighs together. Natural mula bandha (root lock) arises. Gaze up to the hands (or straight ahead if that's better for your neck).
6. Nuture your hips and lower back
Take this deep squat - just straight down with the palms together in namaste or open up through the torso and shoulders with this expansive twist variation.
7. Stand tall and still
Merge into your landscape with tree pose. Find the perfect balance and stillness. Raised leg by the opposite calf or at the top of the thigh or in half lotus as I have it here. Arms raised or palms together in front of the heart in anjali mudra.
8. Appreciate and close
Take some breaths here in mountain pose to seal your practice. Close your eyes. Listen to the silence. Feel all the space around and within you. Magical.
9. Come home and rest
Take legs-up-the-wall pose for a good five to ten minutes, ready for the rest of the day or evening.
10. And you can always indulge ....
True to Black Forest tradition, we were spoiled by the choice of sumptuous cakes everywhere we went. After all that fresh air and walking, the least you can do is indulge in some cultural appreciation and tasting. Guten appetit!
Just sharing this post brings back good memories and the feeling of the forest. I hope you enjoy it in your own neck of the woods.
Photos: author's own