Exercising outdoors just feels better! Heading outside to start the day with a morning stretch is an ideal way to combine exercise with the benefits of being in the fresh air. Add the sea to the outdoor space and you have found out why we love sharing our favourite Vis Island, Croatia, open air Yoga studio.
Yoga outside may initially take you out of your comfort zone. The floor might not be perfectly flat, the wind may distract you and there is a chance that someone may see you. When you start to exercise outside you may notice your body reacting differently to a pose you feel familiar with inside. Mountain pose while looking out towards the sea will have a greater benefit while focusing on breathing and increasing awareness. The aqua blues of the Adriatic sea definitely have a calming effect. Balance poses are different, the natural limestone rock that we love to practice on is slightly uneven. This seems more difficult at first but then the foot and ankle become intuitive in making small muscular modifications, allowing for greater physical benefits and helping to focus concentration. Every time we practice outside the uneven terrain presents a new challenge that our body has to adapt too. Being outside also challenges our focus. A bug may land on you, a gust of wind might disturb you or a fellow sea lover will swim past. These distractions can effect our focus but we think they are great reasons to lose our concentration!
Any Yoga or exercise that is practiced outside also gives a big vitamin D boost. Vitamin D or the Sunshine Vitamin is best administered by Mother Nature. Our indoor lives and most of our working day limit our skins ability to absorb the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Vitamin D aids our bodies absorption of calcium which is needed for the health and growth of bones. Being outside and allowing the sun to warm our body is much better than having to consider taking a supplement to prevent the onset of a Vitamin D deficiency. One of the reasons we like to exercise is keep our body healthy so why would we not optimise the benefit by being out in the fresh air.
We really believe that when we exercise outside we are more relaxed than when we exercise indoors. Meeting together to walk down to the outdoor location by the sea allows us time amongst nature, reflect on how we are feeling that day and then ease into our Yoga practice. As the practice starts and you breathe in fresh sea air we start to feel our minds relaxing, allowing us to focus on our movement. It is well documented that we should spend time to commune with nature. Feeling the sun on our face, hearing the sound of the sea and connecting with the warm ground beneath you feels intuitive and natural.
The fresh sea air of the Vis Island location means you are not doing your Yoga practice in a polluted environment. Serotonin is a chemical that nerve cells produce. From emotions to motor skills, stabilising mood, helping with anxiety, sleep and digestion, Serotonin levels are something that can be improved with exercise. Yoga can positively impact Serotonin levels in your brain. Raising your levels of Serotonin boosts your overall sense of well-being and healthy mood. Being outdoors breathing in salty sea air, which also has antibacterial benefits, will make you healthier as well as happier.
Yoga outdoors can create situations out of our control. The day may be cooler than anticipated with gusts of wind effecting our Yoga mat. You have to adapt to the conditions, practice without the mat, change the type of practice you had initially planned to fit in with the situation. It may start to rain and you have to accept that you have to end the practice early. Someone else has already started to use the space that you had in your mind to use so you have to change location. For the control freaks amongst us, it's an important lesson in life to accept changes and embrace the imperfections that exercising in nature can throw at us.
The ultimate Yoga pose is Savasana, which aims to revive the mind and body by letting go. For some this is easy to achieve, but like meditation it can be very difficult to relax on demand. So when we are by the still waters surrounding the Island of Vis, why not ‘seavasana’? Combine the corpse pose with floating in the sea. The sea provides peacefulness, calm and while floating we are gently rocked into a state of relaxation. Why does being near water set our minds and bodies at ease? Dr Wallace J Nichols, brilliant book, 'Blue Mind', reveals the remarkable truth about the benefits of being in, on, under, or simply near water. After our morning stretch, we float in the sea, we jump into the sea and whether science can provide answers to justify our reasons, this does not concern us. What we can guarantee is that for us its the perfect way to start the day and it make us happy!
We offer morning outdoor Yoga by the sea, as part of our kayaking and biking holidays on the Croatian Island of Vis in the Summer. A ‘relaxingly active’ way to holiday, with us at WearActive.