If you’re looking to find your center, the immediate environment makes all the difference. Sure, there are benefits to taking indoor yoga classes, and you can get an extra sweat from Bikram yoga. Whether that’s more effective than doing the same thing outdoors depends on who you ask.
While gyms and fitness centers do have their place, nature is the true healer. Earth boasts so many environments, and quite a few are safe to explore. From deserts to rainforests, tundras to beaches, there’s something for everyone.
Here are some ideal outdoor settings for yoga and meditation.
Beaches and Coves
There’s nothing like the sound of the waves breaking on the shore. If you’re in Turks and Caicos, go to Grace Bay, celebrated for its calm waters and sugary sand. Set your mat a few feet from the sea, or simply float on your back and let the water carry you.
Shorelines that aren’t in tropical climates are just as lovely. One example is North Beach, in the sleepy Welsh town of Aberystwyth. It’s one of the best spots in the UK for meditation, especially early in the morning when few are out and about.
France boasts incredible beaches, including Pampelonne Beach in the Riviera. However, that one tends to get crowded in the summer months, which may not be conducive to meditation. If you’re looking for beaches that are more removed, and less populated, France has options. There’s En Vau Cove in Calanques National Park and Étretat Beach in Normandy.
You may notice many wellness retreats take place in Costa Rica, and there’s a reason for that. The rainforests, which can be found on the South Pacific Coast and the Caribbean Coast, are popular with nature lovers of all stripes. These ecosystems are filled with a variety of flora and fauna. Many rainforests are connected to national parks, including Corcovado, Manuel Antonio and Piedras Blancas.
For more of the same, visit St. Lucia. Towards the south of the island is Soufriere, home of the Pitons. These peaks are couched in a balmy, rainforest environment.
People have been meditating in the mountains forever. The Himalayan mountain range is a beautiful sanctuary. The fresh air, tranquility and the chance to get away from the bustle of activity has countless benefits.
There are majestic mountain ranges in the U.S., too. The Hudson Highlands, The Rockies and The Blue Ridge Mountains are three popular examples. They’re great for yoga and other physical activities.
Parks, Fields and Gardens
You can transform your own garden into a Zen space, or look beyond. Central Park may be in a loud and busy city. However, it’s big enough to find a quiet spot for your self-care routine. Turtle Pond, The Great Lawn, and Shakespeare Garden are designated quiet zones, meaning music and organized sports aren’t allowed.
Golden Gate Park and The Presidio are beautiful green spaces in San Francisco. In Spain, check out Retiro Park in Madrid and Ciutadella Park in Barcelona. Nobody will look at you strangely if you’re doing a tree pose or downward dog.