Take Your Zen to the Trails with Hiking YogaErin Whitehead
Always on my to-do list but never checked off is yoga. I know it’s so good for clearing my mind and for building strength and getting in touch with my body and its limits, but I’ve been on a yoga hiatus for a couple of years now. I’ve loved to do it in the past, but these days it seems like my mind and body are always racing and my workouts reflect that. These days I’m multitasking, and if I’m not running, my workouts are short bursts of strength and cardio intervals that get my workout in and over with quickly so I can get back to diaper changing and story time with the kids. Speaking of the kids, they’re usually involved in my workouts, running around the room as I sweat and trying to imitate my lunges.
Never mind that now would be the ideal time to take up yoga — it would be good for me to take a break, breathe, meditate, clear my mind. But I just can’t seem to slow down enough to get it done. With my kids in the room, if I have to be on the floor for a move, I’d better be moving — fast. Otherwise I’m a kid magnet. Holding a Downward Dog for a minute with my kids in the room is just an invitation to create a new pose: Two Kids Climbing a Downward Dog.
I know yoga is not easy; I’ve gotten killer workouts from some of the DVDs and classes I’ve tried. But with two young kids, I don’t feel like I have the “luxury” of doing yoga. But if I could combine yoga with a heavy-duty activity? I’d be all in! Which is why I love the idea of yoga hikes. I’ve been seeing this fitness fusion trend pop up in my inbox more and more lately, and it’s the perfect idea for the reluctant yogi for many reasons. It can add some interest to your practice, both visually and by breaking your yoga up into shorter segments. You get cardio on top of your yoga strength, flexibility and balance benefits, so it’s a total coup for your body from head to toe. Plus, it gets you outside, which is great for increasing your energy.
YogiHiker in Santa Fe, N.M., takes small groups on hikes through the foothills and mountains near the city and gives participants the opportunity to practice in the beautiful Southwestern scenery. The Yogihikes last about two and a half hours, and they’re capped at a maximum of six participants at a time so the entire experience is intimate and enriching. Said to feed the soul, participants seem to agree, calling the experience “an innovative, enjoyable and invigorating excursion” and “exhilarating.”
Yoga Hikes DC provides both urban and nature yoga hikes, proving that you don’t need to be in the middle of nowhere to hike and get your om on! The DC hikes range from 90 minutes to 2 hours typically have three to four yoga stops of about 15 minutes each, making it a great way to get your cardio while breaking for yoga. The urban options build off the noise and energy of the city while discovering secluded green spaces, historic homes, and lesser known public art and statues — a unique way to sight-see while exercising. The nature hikes take advantage of the serenity of the fields, river banks, and the wildlife of the region.
There aren’t just a few pop-up yoga hiking instructors either. Hiking Yoga, a company started in 2009, has expanded throughout the United States in locations like Kansas City, Portland, Vail, and Phoenix, in addition to Texas, California, and New York. They offer classes for $20 or three yoga hikes for $50. Considering drop-in rates at most yoga studios and the fact that you’re getting a personal yoga instructor and a hike leader, it’s not a bad deal.
The yoga hike trend isn’t just benefiting participants either. One New Jersey yoga studio, Yoga + Herbs, recently held two yoga hikes to benefit the state’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s New Jersey chapter. It seems fitting that a practice like this would benefit the greater good. This is definitely a trend I’d love to try, as getting to be more in tune with your body and the world around you is one of the great benefits of yoga. What better way to get in touch with the world than by being in the great outdoors? Now I just have to try to get a couple of hours of time sans kiddos …
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