Sure, you want to play outside, but a regular yoga practice helps keep tight muscles and overuse injuries at bay. So why not practice yoga outdoors? Here, three options for taking your downward dog out for a walk.
Elevated practice: Yoga on Aspen Mountain
What better place to practice mountain pose than on top of Aspen Mountain? Roll out your mat at 11,212 feet with an in-your-face view of the Elk Range for an hour-long, all-levels hatha yoga class. “Just being up there makes it really easy to ground into truth and be inspired by the magic of the universe,” says Jayne Gottlieb, owner of local studio Aspen Shakti, which manages the classes. Purchase a sightseeing pass or use your season pass to ride the gondola—or beef up your workout and hike to the top. Weekdays at 10:30 a.m. through Aug 30, $10 per class
Surf and sun salutations: SUP yoga
Not surprisingly, doing yoga on a stand-up paddleboard helps improve your balance. “When we practice on the board, our balance receptors are on high alert and we wake up the smaller muscles that are normally harder to tap into and strengthen,” says Emily Longfellow, who owns the Vimana House in Basalt and Zaya Yoga in Aspen. “Our goal is to create a meditative experience while practicing your favorite asanas on the board.” Longfellow offers hour-long gentle flow classes for all levels on a private lake in Old Snowmass. Saturdays at 3 p.m. through August, $25 per class or $35 including board rental
Commune with nature: Wild Yoga with ACES
Practice more than just yoga at the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, where weekly classes at Hallam Lake, the 25-acre nature preserve in the middle of Aspen, help support the nonprofit’s environmental education program. The all-levels, 75-minute classes are taught by instructors from local group Lead with Love and take advantage of the natural surroundings with a holistic approach. And who knows? You may even spot a beaver or a belted kingfisher during the session. Tuesdays at 5:15 p.m. through Sept 10, $10 per class
While practicing yoga outdoors, keep in mind these tips from Longfellow:
- No mirrors, no problem; reflect on your natural surroundings instead.
- Use sunscreen and hydrate just as you would for any outdoor activity in the mountains.
- Focus inward and outward. As you’re sitting still in nature—instead of, say, flying down the mountain on a bike or running a trail—truly let the outside in.
For yoga-on-the-go, try Manduka’s Eko Superlite Travel Yoga Mat ($44), and throw your towel, water bottle, a change of clothes, and any other essentials in a chic but practical On My Level Duffel from Lululemon ($158 at Lululemon, 204 S Galena St).