Seriously, yoga hiking is a delightful way to combine yoga and hiking into a fascinating experience. You have the excellent practice of being in the outdoors, using the health-giving poses of yoga and meditating in nature.
Yoga hiking is a two-pronged stress reliever: the combination of aerobic exercise, and the incredible health benefits of yoga. Think about it. Yoga hiking brings together the stress-relief of being outside in nature and the yoga practice that improves your immune system, builds strength, increases flexibility, and improves your mental health. Hiking gives you aerobic exercise and cardio practice. What a perfect mix!
What is Yoga Hiking?
Do you like to hike? Practice yoga? If your answer is yes, then you need to try yoga hiking. It's a transforming experience.
Retreats are blossoming across the nation in places like Austin, Texas, Sedona, Arizona, and the beaches of California. Yogi Blair who takes his resort in Sedona seriously says, “Ya know, it’s essential to embrace the sacred and wise, and to remember often our light-hearted playful smile as we do so.”
Hiking yoga begins by gathering into the great outdoors with a group of like-minded yoga hikers. Instructors lead the group along the trail and stop at pre-determined places to do poses like balances poses, different warrior poses and standing sun salutations. In some classes, you may need to bring your mat, but many yoga hiking classes only practice standing poses. You can talk to your classmates as you hike, yet there will be times when all you want to do is meditate as you rest from your hike in incredible places to practice yoga poses.
Yoga hiking is less about form and more about stretching, meditating and breathing. It is all about enjoying nature and your surroundings. Instructors are very knowledgeable about proper hiking techniques, and they keep the yoga perfect and straightforward. Yoga poses are not too intense, and they focus on more on breathing and stretching. Instructors map in stopping areas where you can all stop and do yoga poses and meditate on the incredible scenery.
Listen to the relaxing sounds of the breezes in the trees and the birds happily chirping. Your skin is warmed by the sun, and for a moment everything is perfect. Stop, meditate and be thankful you can spend time in a beautiful place with friends who feel like you do. Let calm wash over you and find your Namaste frame of mind.
You don’t need to be experienced at either hiking or yoga to take advantage of yoga hiking. If you are nervous about being in shape, your instructors have mapped out routes that are not too strenuous and difficult.
On the other hand, hiking trails can be a bit rough with rocks and roots. Rest assured that yoga poses that are difficult and crazy are not encouraged. However, don’t think you are on a cakewalk; it is a little challenging to walk along the uneven ground and in gravelly patches, and stopping to do yoga poses can be confusing.
Why Yoga on a Hike?
Yoga is growing by leaps and bounds. Once it was hard to find yoga studios, but now they are in gyms, spas, and standalone places. Many remarkable health benefits are gained by merely adding yoga to your regular activities.
Yoga focuses on posture and breathing and emphasizes mental focus. It strengthens your core. Focusing, being relaxed and staying calm during stressful times improves lung functions. Yoga is a low impact practice and is excellent for those who have arthritis. Pain can be eased as stiff muscles loosened and mobility is increased.
Start your yoga career by going slow. Practice simple asanas (poses) until you are comfortable and then move up to more complicated poses.
Hiking has the perks of fresh air, sounds and smells of nature, and a powerful cardio workout. Want to lower your risk of heart disease, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels? Take a hike. Your core will be strengthened, balance improved, and hiking is a great way to control your weight.
Start slow. Short hikes are best for beginners. Work up to trails that have uneven terrain and hills. You can use poles to dig into the ground and propel yourself forward. If you use poles on your hike, you push your upper body muscles to work harder, and your cardio workout is stronger.
Do you see the similarities between hiking and yoga? Hiking and yoga share exercise, weight control, and strengthening your core. What a natural fit! Yoga hiking is a great way to exercise, hike and practice yoga all at once.
One hiker’s endorsement of yoga hiking, “It was nice to do something a little different, and not to do 100 Vinyasas in an hour!!”