Have you taken your workout outside yet? Summer may be winding down, but there’s still plenty of good weather for hiking, biking, kayaking, and letting your inner ball pro loose on the local diamond. Moving your body aerobically while negotiating the unexpected–uneven ground, moving water, natural hills–can be both challenging and exhilarating. It’s a great way to integrate body, mind, and spirit. And the scenery is much better than the wall of TVs at the gym!
Here’s a short, breath-based sequence that intended to help prepare your joints for motion and your big muscle groups for serious outdoor action. By building up the respiratory muscles with an emphasis on strengthening the inhale, it will also help ensure that you’ve got the breath support and energy to climb the summit or power through the last 5 miles.
Although we’ve photographed it indoors, this sequence is meant to be taken outdoors. Try using it as a warmup to prepare for other athletic activities. Take care of your knees by using a grassy patch or your jacket to cushion them when you do the kneeling posture. (My lovely model, Gigi Boetto, who teaches yoga in Brooklyn and NYC, is using a blanket here.) You can also stay off your knees entirely by putting your front foot on a park bench. In that case, keep the back leg straight, but don’t lock your knee.
The combination of simple, strong postures and a disciplined approach to the breath will supercharge the energetic effect of the practice. You may be surprised by how far your body takes you. After your total workout, cool down with a slow walkabout, then repeat the table-dog-child sequence to neutralize your spine and clear out the kinks.
A caveat: Simple is not the same as easy. Combining breath work with movement packs a definite wallop, particularly on the inhale side! Do not force your breath, or allow the pressure in your chest to build to the point where you are uncomfortable. If needed, pause for a small sip of breath here and there. For any heart condition or unregulated high- or low-blood pressure, check with your doctor before you try this sequence. Once you get the okay, start at 75% of your capacity and build slowly from there.
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example you are of how I call it… “Living in the midst of life’s pain”…
Many Blessings for a peace-filled September,