Yoga is a practice that can be done anywhere, as long as you have a mat and a quiet space. It’s super easy to take your yoga practice outside, but have you considered taking your yoga practice overseas and somewhere international?
There are plenty of beautiful outdoor spots all around the world for you to roll your mat out, where the nature and scenery is part of the yoga experience.
Yoga is deeply symbolic of nature, from the names of many postures (Tree, Mountain, and poses named after animals), to the corresponding elements of certain poses (Earth, Air, Water, and Fire).
The yoga community is widespread around the globe, so there are special places for you to treat yourself to a purposeful and beneficial yoga travel adventure, and also bring your yoga practice into the open air.
Here are 6 exotic yoga destinations where the scenery is as potent at the practice itself and there are sufficent opportunities to take your yoga practice outdoors.
The birthplace of yoga is found in a small town at the bottom of the Himalayas, the town of Rishikesh, India. This town is found along the Ganges River, and is a holy pilgrimage destination for those who practice hinduism. There are a wealth of yoga classes, retreats and workshops available in the town, so even if you don’t book in advance, don’t worry. Or you can even do your practice yourself, overlooking the beautiful river in the city.
There are other things to do here too, such as visiting local temples, rafting or swimming in the Ganges, or other spiritual workshops. You can also travel a little further afield to visit noteworthy destinations such as Mussouri, Dheradum, Shimla, or Dharma Sala, the residence of the Dalai Lama.
Nepal is a place with plenty for yogis to explore, as well as other challenges (Mount Everest, anyone?). Nepal is part of the Himalayas, and it’s a very spiritual place to explore, with sights such as the sacred Kathmandu valley, amazing nature and the snow capped mountains of the Himalayas. There are plenty of yoga Ashrams for your practice, and get into those downward dogs and enjoy the majesty of the world's biggest mountains.
Thailand is a popular destination for both travellers and yogis, with lots of yoga teachers and schools holding retreats and trainings on the Thai islands. Here is a good destination to combine your yoga practice with some traditional thai massage, to help stimulate your meridians. There are a plethora of other outdoor activities to enjoy in Thailand, such as snorkelling, trekking, surfing - as well as just relaxing on the beach.
Thailand is also a culinary destination for Thai food lovers, so your palate can be satisfied after practice each and every day you're there.
Bali, indonesia, has become a popular destination for a yoga vacation, with plenty of opportunity to practice yoga, as well as relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. The best places to go for yoga are Ubud, or Canggu, but there are also yoga destinations on the Gili islands, if you don’t mind a boat ride. There’s also amazing temples and beaches to explore, as well as relaxing with a massage to ease aching muscles.
Australia is one of the more modern places to embrace yoga. Yoga arrived in Australia in the 1940’s by a western yogi called Michael Volin. Spiritual places in Australia like Uluru are worth visiting on your yoga pilgrimage.
Byron Bay is also a mecca for yogis, with multiple yoga studios, farmers markets, and a general laid back attitude in a gorgeous beach time. It’s also the perfect base to explore the rainforest park of Mt. Warning, which offers the most breathtaking views of Australia.
There’s also no shortage of quality yoga in beautiful studios in the metropolitan cities of Melbourne and Sydney, if urban environments are more your thing.
Hawaii is a literal paradise in which to practice yoga. Many established yogis have set up studious in Maui, but there are also classes on every island.
Yoga on the beach is big here, as well as acro-yoga, and paddle board yoga, so you can find places to practice outdoors. There’s also loads of other activities such as hiking or whale watching, or simply relax on the beach and work on your sense of mindfulness.
While Italy might not be the first place to come to mind for yoga, open air villas in places like Tusacay and the Almafi Coast are becoming more popular for stunning yoga getaways. With an abundance of rolling hills, old architecture, and pristine Mediterrannean coast line, Italy is a treat for all of the senses.
The Italian way of life, where taking your time, enjoying the finer things in life, and savoring each moment, can complement a yoga trip, if becoming more relaxed is one of the goal's.
Who doesn’t want delicious Italian food and a glass of fine wine after a day of enjoying nature and practicing yoga?
And finally, anywhere!
If you’re unable to whisk yourself away to an exotic destination , you can still practice yoga outdoors and feel connected to nature. Being in nature and practicing yoga can help to replenish your energy. Spending time outside sends signals to the brain to stay alert, which can increase feelings of vigor and vitality.
The natural scenery of being outdoors can also heighten your awareness, as the fresh air helps you be more aware of your breath. Looking at beautiful scenery also helps to release endorphins, and the different aspects of being outside - cool breezes, feeling grass, hearing wildlife - can help to transform your practice into a multi-sensory experience.
Practicing yoga in a new environment also helps to increase your confidence, and help push you out of your comfort zone with your practice - especially if you’re used to working in the same environment.
Finally, the outdoors can help to boost the benefits of meditation, helping you to reduce stress and feel calm!
By Amy Cavill
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