Outdoors Yoga in the Highlands
If the last two years have taught us anything it’s that we need the outdoors. No one can stay shacked up indoors forever and, seeking answers for how to cope with the toxic overload of everyday grind, we’ve been barraged with so many options it’s hard to know where to begin. But if you’re willing to hike to hidden Highlands paradises like Glenloy, you’ll discover how outdoor yoga is staking its claim as the pre-eminent solution amid the congested field of well-being apps, mindfulness classes, and Peloton bikes.
Let’s pause for a second. Yoga…outdoors? In the Highlands?! Before you dismiss the idea as the raving madness of a mind not yet awoken from its post-Christmas hibernation, take a deep breath and consider it carefully. First think about your surroundings – even a dachshund-sized downward dog needs some sort of space and, if you really want to make your yoga count, you can’t ignore that location is crucial.
Then put the cold to the back of your mind and focus on the benefits. Translations of the word ‘yoga’ can vary, but it is generally agreed that the English word that best conveys the concept is ‘union’. Outdoor yoga gives you the chance to unite and connect with the natural world, to embrace its elements, take inspiration from the wild landscapes, and find that nourishing energy to replenish your soul.
Yoga with a Twist
Down the road in Glen Coe, the majestic Three Sisters stand tall and proud against the morning sky, dominating the landscape and dwarfing the series of barely perceptible vinyasas that are creating little more than a ripple in this sea of tranquillity. The team behind Wild Yoga Glencoe are just one of the increasing number to recognise and encourage the practice of outdoor yoga, running regular breaks and retreats that emphasise how much we can gain by understanding seasonality and shifting our body clocks back in tune with nature.
Finlay Wilson is another in agreement, though he’s upped the stakes in the wardrobe department by becoming the face (and, on occasions, the backside!) behind Kilted Yoga. After a childhood spent on the edge of the natural world, his decision to turn the verdant forests and glens into his own personal yoga mat felt….natural, in every sense of the word.
Okay it takes some courage at first to ditch the top and don the kilt, but for Dundee’s own kind of yogi bear there’s no denying the dividends, which he credits as the not-so-subtle secrets to his happy and wholesome way of life. He’s adamant about the shifts in energy and spirit that we can find when learning to respect the environment and step into our authentic selves through the practice of Highlands yoga.
There’s no need for us to reject or deny the beauty of stunning retreats around the world – though we challenge anyone to first spend a few days here before claiming there are more spiritual destinations out there. So quit worrying about what to give up to afford the Maldives! Instead wipe the weight off your shoulders with a trip closer to home, doubling up on the advantages. And that money you save? Well, we can think of a few ways you can put it to good use!
Give the Highlands a try for your next retreat and you’ll struggle to find many more rewarding scenes for your asanas. In fact, the views aren’t half bad after those asanas either – come and check it out for yourself, we’ve saved you a seat!