You might think that yoga requires a studio and a mat. But you can engage in this ancient exercise just about anytime and anywhere. Doing so adds a little fun to your routine, helping you burn more calories and combat chronic pain at the same time.
It doesn’t matter if you’re new to yoga or you practice it regularly. Striking a pose throughout the day can lower your stress levels and help you cope with life’s ups and downs without losing your composure.
If you’re ready to mix up your workout and take your fitness and flexibility to new heights, try these unusual locations to say, “om.”
11 Unconventional Ways to Practice Your Yoga
1. On a Rooftop
Yoga offers a host of health benefits. So does getting outside to enjoy a remarkable view. Why not combine the two practices? If you live in a select urban location, you can join rooftop yoga studios to get your stretch on while the sun sets behind you.
However, don’t give up the benefits if you live in the country. Do you have a flat porch roof or a balcony you can use for your practice? Something about practicing yoga under the stars relaxes you like nothing else.
2. In the Sky
Maybe you struggle to get into a challenging scorpion pose when you’re on the ground, but could you master the asana if you were airborne? Enter aerial yoga, a form of the practice that uses long fabric slings known as hammocks suspended from the ceiling. You’ll hover approximately three feet off the ground while you bend and stretch your way through the various poses.
This style makes balancing poses more accessible if you have balance challenges because you can hold on to the hammock with one hand for additional stability. Without the benefit of gravity, you’ll need to engage those core muscles to remain upright.
3. Atop a Mountain
Yoga is all about introspection, and what better place to get spiritual than going far from the beaten path? Your mat is lightweight and can travel anywhere. Prepare a go-bag full of supplies like a spare toothbrush and some water bottles, so you can grab it and get your Zen on without delay.
Then, head to your nearby nature preserve or national forest. Hike until you find a spot that’s relatively flat and full of rocks and briars. Spread out and do your thing.
4. On the Water
Have you always dreamed of becoming a surfer? Why not challenge your stability by taking a paddleboard yoga class at a pool or nearby beach? If your goal is rock-hard abs, you’ll achieve it with this invigorating workout. Standing on the board creates quite the balance challenge.
However, don’t worry if you fall off and get a bit wet. You can climb right back up and try again, and you’ll eventually dry off. Think of it as a lesson in perseverance and determination.
5. At Your Work Desk
Are you having one of those days at the office? When you’re feeling stressed, the muscles in your neck and back can tense up, leaving you achy and sore. You might also experience more frequent headaches.
Alleviate stress naturally and discreetly by practicing yoga moves at your desk. You can relax your middle and lower back by placing your hands in your lap and performing a seated cat-cow. Inhale as you arch your spine, then exhale as you round it out, opening your shoulder blades wide.
You can also stand up and perform a forward fold to release pressure on your lower back from sitting still for too long. If you have conditions like fibromyalgia or degenerative disk disease, regular stretch breaks can reduce your pain levels significantly.
6. On Your Breaks
When you get your 15-minute break in the morning and afternoon, do you head to the breakroom or the water cooler? Why not use this time for a quick yoga break instead? If you work in a creative field like marketing, the practice can get your imagination flowing if you’re stuck.
How? When your body is busy, your mind can wander freely, and the imaginary crew in your subconscious can get to work free from censorship. A 5-minute yoga break could lead to a substantial breakthrough.
7. In Line at the Grocers
Many grocery stores have hard, concrete flooring, and standing still on this surface can wreak havoc on your feet and your back. You can ease the pain by changing positions frequently, so why not strike a few yoga poses? You have your cart to hold on to, so it’s easier to keep your balance.
Place the sole of one foot against the inside of your standing leg for a modified tree pose. You can also perform the dancer pose — but be careful not to kick the person behind you in line.
8. On Top of a Ball
Do you want to blast your core muscles? Sitting on an exercise ball instead of a conventional chair engages your midline and prevents slouching. Plus, the ball acts as an assistive device for some poses.
For example, if you can’t master the wheel pose without help, leaning backward over the sphere provides lumbar support while allowing you to enjoy the stretch. Talk to your HR department and see if you can request one.
9. With Your Kiddos
Yoga isn’t the sole province of adults — kids benefit from a regular practice, too. Some schools have now replaced detention with yoga as an alternative means of behavioral intervention.
To make yoga meaningful for your little ones, bring it down to their level by using animal analogies. For example, you can tell them to stretch like a scared Halloween kitty or stand on one leg like a flamingo.
10. With Your Pets
Do your best friends have four legs and fur? Why not practice the downward-facing kitty by doing yoga with cats at a local shelter? Many Humane Societies and other organizations have implemented weekly classes to help available felines find homes.
If you’re more of a dog than a cat person, you can find yoga with puppies and even bunnies too.
11. In Bed
What better way to wind down from your busy day than by doing some stretches? Your bed can make a perfect yoga mat. You can use your headboard to assist you in twisting moves to relieve any lower back pain before you catch your Zzz’s.
You can also perform a few poses in bed upon awakening to start your day healthily.
You don’t have to be in the studio to get a terrific yoga workout. Take these tips and enjoy this exercise anytime and anywhere.