Let me start off by saying I’m not a hippie. I swear. I did once spend a whole weekend in the middle of nowhere doing qigong for hours on end until I nearly passed out from sheer boredom, but I promise I didn’t enjoy it.
Yoga has always been a true favourite and the one form of exercise I’ve kept returning to over the past ten years – whether that’s vinyasa, ashtanga, hot yoga or bikram (kundalini is a bit too breathy for me).
So when I had the opportunity to try outdoor yoga with my local running club last week, I was intrigued for several reasons.
Firstly, it was a cold November evening and having spent the majority of the year sweating in a 37°C hot yoga studio up the road in my sports bra (praying I wouldn’t bump into anyone I know), outdoor yoga was sort of the opposite. It was cold yoga.
Secondly, perhaps more importantly, doing yoga on Brighton seafront felt a little bit out of my comfort zone for the fact that a) as explained above, I’m not a hippie and b) people could see me.
But I was interested to see what it was like anyway, so I went along with a couple of friends from my club and turned up to see it was one of the teachers from my hot yoga studio doing the class.
I instantly felt relieved knowing he’s as far from a hippie yoga teacher as you can get – I believe he used to be a professional boxer, and to be honest he’s a bit of a geezer.
We started off doing this thing that I can only imagine is a bit like tai chi – or ‘dance yoga’ as I tried to describe it, for those who aren’t that into martial arts.
And man, did I feel awkward. For approximately a minute, I was thinking of slipping off into the dark and never looking back, but as soon as we got into the swing of things and we realised it was alright to giggle, it started being quite fun.
The strange martial arts bit was only the warm-up as well, and having to memorise the moves made everyone concentrate so hard that the people walking by staring at us and smiling or giggling became almost like background noise.
There was something really calming about doing yoga on the beach in the cold wind as well – although balancing on one leg whilst bending forward and catching your foot with your hand can be kind of tricky when the wind is threatening to blow you over.
But if there was one thing I learnt, it’s that however awkward it may seem to do outdoor classes when people are staring whilst walking by (cause people do stare), it will never be as awkward as someone farting dangerously close to your head at an indoor class.
Have you tried outdoor yoga? Did you enjoy it?
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