I just got back from a wonderful weekend at the beach. Two dear friends from high school, sand, surf, and no responsibility. It was dreamy...although highly unsustainable. I jogged on the beach, read for hours (more later on Wendy Doniger's The Hindus), did a little yoga on the beach. Am in the process of acclimating to Real Life...
Yoga Outside...so topical, this week. I'd meant to post before I left, because Yoga Spy left an intriguing comment last week about doing yoga in public and I found it inspiring, if a bit confounding. Now, It's All Yoga, Baby also has a post worth considering in this context, too. There's some back and forth about the giant yoga-in in NYC, but I haven't read up on that, seeing as I was "off-line" when it went down.
For me, our little session in the sand was just a quick amuse bouche. A little stretch-and-commune-with-nature, but nothing particularly deep or moving. However, doing it outside did mean we were on view, and one jogger going by was so distracted he wandered into the incoming wave. (n.b. we were 2 middle-aged ladies and one man in sloppy tees and shorts, no hot yoga bods, here) Still, we felt better afterwards and definitely more calm, so benefits were had.
Which gets me to my (and my fellow bloggers') point. Is yoga outside too distracting to count as yoga? Are you drawing too much attention to yourself? Are you too aware of what else is going on? Does this detract from the practice, or enhance it?
I see the point on both sides. I think a traditional practice--a withdrawing from the senses--probably is made more difficult by being outside, or at least in public with passerbys and whatnot. But I think a modern practice (so to speak) is improved; I think you become more aware of what you are doing and you become very sensitive to your environment. Instead of withdrawing from your senses, you withdraw from the distractions of everday life--demands, obligations, to-do-lists--and become more in tune with your body and your place in nature. One living being among many.
I'm all for quieting the monkey-mind, however it is accomplished. I like to keep the tool box filled, if you will. But I'm really interested in what the rest of you think. Wind, waves, and walkers or serenity, screens, and silence?
(Aah, Topsail Beach in North Carolina...)