So last night, I had my first outdoor yoga class.
It was initially meant to take place on Sunday, 21 June, to celebrate the International Day of Yoga, the Summer Solstice, the anniversary of Desikachar's birthday and the World Music Day! However, the weather forecast was not that good for Sunday. I had practiced yoga outdoor in sunny Spain a couple or times and then once in a cloudy and cold Dorset gardens ground - the difference between the two experiences was starkly. So I decided to propose Monday evening to those who had expressed an interest. Glad I did.
After weeks of Zooming yoga classes from home, I must say that I was a bit apprehensive. Firstly, I contacted BWY to find out about risk assessment for holding a class outdoor and started going through it.
I then set out to find a suitable spot to practice. There were 2 areas of interest - question was whether we could enjoy some peace and quiet during the practice. So I surveyed the area at different times, dragging my husband along for a second opinion (we all need a second opinion and also someone to take pictures😁).
To experience what it was like to practice on a potentially uneven soil, I took my mat to try. I have to be honest, I did not fancy taking my shoes off and practice bare feet. However, that felt very strange, so used to practice yoga with bare feet. I did ask myself whether it was a physical 'strangeness' or mental one!? In the end, I decided that it was safer with trainers.
Turning to the weather forecast, I kept an eye on the weather conditions for the days ahead. Sunday could have turned dire. So, we settled for Monday. An email was sent to the participants, listing all they needed to bring along, details of time and place, link to Google map, together with the COVID19 note.
On the day, I arrived at the location well before the start. I first checked the area for twigs, branches, rocks and removed all I could see. I had pegs and flags, as markings for the position of the 3 participants' mats, and with the Stanley tape measure I ensured the mandatory social distance between their positions and also mine. I had a bag with first aid kit, gel, white spirit, tissues, disposable gloves and masks just in case, phone, etc..
The participants arrived - it was good to see some I had not seen since March and to see face to face those I had seen by peering through a computer screen on Zoom. The weather conditions were just right - a bit breezier than I would have liked. All settled nicely. Just being outside it felt good.
We started our practice and kept on moving, focusing on the arms and shoulders, as I knew that 1 or 2 participants may not have had a chance to practice for some time.
What are my take aways?
Firstly, seeing students, once again and their smiley faces. Secondly, realising the meaningfulness of saying 'lift the arms towards the sky' or 'point the fingertips towards the earth' in an outdoor class. We did not have to imagine the sky above, or the earth beneath the feet - they were real.
I don't know what it was like for them when they layed down on their mat during the relaxation and looked up to the blue sky of a summer evening, through the branches and foliage of the tree that sheltered and embraced us in its shade. I hope it was nurturing and refreshing.
Would I do it again? You bet. If you are interested, visit www.merakiyoga-surrey.co.uk/outdoor-class