Here in the UK the sun is shining right now, which gives Yoga instructors a chance to take advantage of the outdoors to refresh their practice and give their students a new chance to connect with nature and the world around them by teaching yoga outside.
Taking your class outdoors can also be a great way to encourage new students, the novelty can attract people who may not fancy the idea of being cooped up in a studio and outdoor classes are more visible which can help promote your classes.
Of course, teaching yoga outside can have its downsides, especially when you are teaching a class who all have different needs, so here are some of our top tips to successfully move your classes outside this Summer.
First up, deal with the practical side of things. Check if your insurance covers teaching yoga outside and make sure you get students to sign waivers before the class starts.
Check with the local authorities in case a permit is necessary if you are charging for your class. A free class might not need permits and could be a chance to attract new students who may be wary of paying before they know what the class is like.
Research Your Location
It’s not necessarily just a case of finding a spot with enough flat ground and space for your students. Consider the time of day you are practising. Visit the spot in advance, is there shade or is it in direct sunlight? It’s also worth checking in case another class or group uses that spot on your practice day and time.
Noise can also be a consideration. Ensure your students will be able to hear you, a space that seems quiet at 2pm could have lots of traffic noise if you visit during rush hour.
Lastly, have a backup place to practice in case of inclement weather and ensure you have a way of communicating this to students.
Embrace the Environment
Make sure that taking the class outside offers something more than just a novel location by really encouraging students to connect with the location.
Use meditation time to breathe with the breeze or focus on the feeling of warmth of the sun on your skin.
Encourage students to feel the ground in postures and adjust to make use of any unevenness. Poses like Downward dog offer a chance to give students cues to consider whether their mat is even, is the front higher than the back? Can you use that to get a greater stretch, or to help get the heels to the ground?
Lastly, it’s important to communicate with existing and new students. Not everyone is keen to take their practice outside, whatever the reasons, so make sure students know well in advance that the class will be moving, or consider making it a one-off extra event instead.
Communicate with students what they need to bring. In warm weather they may need more water than normal, they may want to bring a towel to remove any dust and dirt from their mat and skin and sunscreen and insect repellent may be advisable.
Practising Yoga outside isn’t something we get a chance to do regularly in the UK, so seizing the opportunity can provide a different experience for students and teachers alike. Taking mind of a few simple practical tips can help you avoid any pitfalls and create a positive opportunity to connect with the environment.
For the rest of the year check out our tips on finding the perfect yoga venue, and sign up to our newsletter below to receive our venue checklist to take the pressure off of choosing a venue for your class.