“The human spirit needs places where nature has not been re-arranged by the hand of man.”

dock empty


I spend my summer on Madeline Island and winters in the Twin Cities. 

When I am asked how teaching on the island is different from my studio classes in the cities, it is difficult to answer. I mean, the sequences are the same, my style stays true, and I use the same playlists and themes. So why is it hard to explain? Fortunately, I recently came across a quote which struck a chord (I love quotes, use them in each and every class) and it sums up my feelings on our island classes: 

“The human spirit needs places where nature has not been re- arranged by the hand of man.” – author unknown

Finally the reason WHY I love teaching outdoors so much.  My spirit needs it, craves it and finds peace in these wide open spaces.  

However if you still need more reasons here are some of my own personal experiences as well as those of my students who have shared their outdoor practice with me:

Biking to yoga is the perfect transition to shift from busy mother to calm yogi.

The view of Lake Superior is magnificent. I am mystified by the powers of this body of water. A shift occurs in my soul as I gaze out at the lake while practicing yoga or I’m floating on the water via kayak or SUP. In a supine position my view is the brilliance of green leaves blowing against it’s blue sky backdrop. 

An opening of senses occurs. Moving through asanas as you feel the breeze and sun on your face. During savasana, you listen to waves lap under the dock luring you into a deeper rest. Sometimes we are blessed with bald eagles soaring over us, sand between our toes, or even a gentle summer rain on our skin. 

There is a healthy respect for challenge. Yoga often mimics life and just as challenges arise in our world, they are more apparent in an outdoor practice. Standing on a Stand Up Paddle as a moving yoga mat humbles your practice. Try a new life perspective of the world when you float into down dog on the SUP and quite literally flip your world upside down. 

Simply, there is a deeper freedom experienced when the studio walls are stripped away and natural environment surrounds you. I think it parallels the runner or biker who spends summers on open trails only to have to return to a treadmill or stationary bike once winter hits. Something is missing. It may be a great workout but it can’t even come close to the outdoor experience. 

So, as I wrap up my summer and return to life back home I will longingly look forward to next summer on the island. It is with heart felt gratitude that I thank you for allowing me to guide you through your island yoga experience. 

4 comments


  • Sarah Sheehan

    I love the quote Christy! The images I will carry with me this winter are feeling the breeze off the lake, the bald eagle soaring over us while we practice and the companionship and communtiy that is created when we come together to practice our yoga. Thank you Christy, Amy and Ann for sharing your gifts. Shanti, Sarah

    September 6, 2012
    • admin

      We appreciate all of your help during our busier classes! Looking forward to practicing with you during the off season here in the cities.

      September 6, 2012
  • hey what is your fb page

    September 11, 2012

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