Traditional hiking offers both mental and physical benefits. It allows an individual to enjoy the beautiful outdoors while getting a cardiovascular workout.
Integrating yoga into your hike aids in your overall health and vitality. Yoga breathing exercises increase lung capacity. This will allow you to have more stamina during challenging hikes. Yoga also helps in flexibility and core strength that improves a hiker's balance when traversing through challenging terrain. This also prevents injury and muscle soreness after a hike.
Currently, there are official hiking yoga classes offered in 15 different cities in the United States, and you can choose between an urban or nature trail. But you don't need to join a class to reap the benefits of this activity. As long as you're familiar with some simple yoga poses and know of a trail that you want to explore, you are all set.
Plan your workout and trail
You will need to plan the hiking trail and duration of your workout before this activity. A typical hiking yoga class consists of a 90-minute hike with three or four 10-minute yoga sessions in between. You can increase or decrease these times depending on your fitness level. When planning the duration of your hike, take into consideration the difficulty of the terrain. You may need to increase the duration of your trek if your trail is mostly flat or decrease the duration if there are some challenging elevations.
Plan out three or four stops where you can perform your yoga poses along your chosen trail. When choosing yoga spots, do not only consider the beautiful scenery but also ensure that the area is relatively flat and has a smooth and firm ground. For the safety of yourself and others, also make sure that you are away from busy hiking and biking trails.
Yoga poses to try
Always take into consideration the ground surface when planning your yoga poses. You will have a variety of body-to-ground experiences, so be sure to take you time to get your bearings. Most flat and firm ground will accommodate standing balance poses. Certain yoga poses will target specific muscle groups. So keep this in mind when choosing different positions to include in your workout. For beginners, you can try the popular downward facing dog. This stretches several muscle groups, including your calves and back.
Here are some standing balance poses for you to try. Use a combination of these for the yoga part of your workout. Depending upon your fitness level and the terrain, you can also incorporate intermediate or advanced yoga positions. If you are ending a hike with a yoga session, you can opt for the Pranayama breathing exercises. Breathing exercises can help you feel relaxed and rejuvenated after a grueling hike.
Don't forget to
Before heading out to try hiking yoga, don't forget to check the weather. It would be dangerous to try yoga poses during a severe rain as you can run the risk of slipping or falling. So make sure that the weather is cooperative during your hiking yoga session. You can also bring a weather radio or get weather updates on your phone in case bad weather sneaks up on you.
Of course, you will also need the appropriate gear. Besides the typical hiking gear which will depend on the duration of the hike, weather, and individual preferences, you should also bring a stopwatch and gloves. The gloves will protect your hands from rough surfaces when you are doing your yoga poses. The stopwatch will help you to in pacing yourself during the hike and yoga.
Kathrine played high school and collegiate soccer. Ever since then, she's always integrated fitness into her everyday life. She enjoys trying out new outdoor recreational activities during her spare time.