The Gutsy Yogi: Incorporating Yoga into Your Outdoor Lifestyle
by Sarah Sharpe
Have you considered trying yoga? As a spiritual and strengthening practice, yoga can act as the perfect compliment to your outdoor lifestyle. As a Colorado native, I have become accustomed to the gorgeous mountain views, the crisp air, changing seasons, and opportunities for adventure at my doorstep. I have always had a greater appreciation for the outdoors knowing I could hike, bike, run, swim, ski, and snowboard during each year’s generous 300 days of sunshine. Indoor workouts were never really my thing until a friend decided to take me to my first yoga class. Not unlike most people trying something new for the first time, I was slightly nervous and afraid I wouldn’t know what to do. Well it turns out I didn’t, and it was hard! But even in the first class yoga taught me to stick with it and work for the reward. I left feeling peaceful and completely exhilarated. It was almost like an out of body experience, but in reality it put me completely in touch and in tune with my body for the first time.
After spending the better part of my first few years of college doing what college kids do- drinking with friends and eating when and what I pleased, I could finally see a glimpse of what my body needed. I made a commitment to myself and signed up for a month membership. I attended classes almost every day and started seeing an improvement in my body, my mood, and my eating habits within the first week. In the past, committing time to the challenge was always my weak point, and I know I am not alone in this. Committing to an hour of instructed yoga meant you had to be there, and you had to do the poses or take a quick rest and get back to it.
Not everyone will love yoga, but it is important to find what makes you HAPPY, and stick to it. Personally, yoga has changed my life. Healthy eating habits began to come naturally to me, because I knew how much it would affect my body if I went back to my old habits. I became an overall happier person, and my body completely changed. I lost nearly 30 lbs. in the first 6 months and gained more muscle than I had ever had in my life. This, in turn, gave me a huge advantage in my outdoor lifestyle. I am able to complete new challenges with more ease because I already have the platform to do so. I hope to encourage and inspire readers to incorporate yoga or some sort of spiritual practice into their lifestyle. It can only enhance the power you have within yourself to take on new challenges.
How can I get started?
- Start by researching local yoga studios. Studios typically accommodate all levels and are happy to have beginners.
- Buy a yoga mat! Even if you don’t commit for longer than a month or so, having a yoga mat handy is helpful when you want to do yoga at home. They also work wonderfully as a sleeping pad for camping or a mat for toddlers to play on.
- Stick to it. Give your practice at least a month to let everything sink in. You WILL start to feel a difference as long as you commit.
- Treat yo’self! Grab some new workout gear and a sweat towel (it will come in handy!) to stay motivated and excited to go to class.
- Find a time that works for you. If you are exhausted in the afternoons, try a morning class. I have found that morning yoga has been the most beneficial for me. Bonus: it will boost your metabolism for the rest of the day.
“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful, what you’ll discover is yourself.”