DIY outside yoga

The ceiling of my outdoor yoga studio.

The ceiling of my outdoor yoga studio.

I told myself that I’d treat yoga class like a doctor’s appointment. No skipping, or my neck would pay the price. But I didn’t really want to go, didn’t want to be cooped up in that room — especially after an online search revealed the existence of an extremely awesome-looking class that meets outdoors, on the Wells Street Bridge in Fort Wayne.

That one doesn’t fit my schedule, of course. But it was a beautiful day, just as comfortable outdoors as in, so why not do yoga on my own, outside?

yogaoutside2I don‘t have a mat, so I grabbed an old Indian blanket bought years ago on a reservation outside Phoenix when I was working one summer at The Arizona Republic. It felt amazing under my toes, much better than a rubbery mat used by dozens of other people. The canopy of trees overhead made an inviting ceiling that seemed to breathe along with me.

The only question was: Could I get myself to actually do the poses? Well, no, obviously I couldn’t make myself do challenging sequences that I hated. But I was seeking stillness more than sweat. A simple, basic realignment. And so I moved in and out of the same half dozen moves over and over, remembering to breathe, to go as deep as I could into each maneuver without forcing anything.

Surprisingly, I did not resist planks, coming into down dog. Strangely, I didn’t mind these as much as I usually do, perhaps because I wasn’t being commanded to do them.

I’d forgotten to bring any music out with me, so there was only traffic and birds and the occasional train whistle. Not anything you’d request on a soundtrack, but that’s what there was, and it was fine.

Class was over when it felt like I was done. Weirdly, it was 10:15 right on the dot when I shook out my blanket and went inside; the class I’ve been going to never ends on time.

Most importantly, my neck and shoulders felt restored for another week.

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