It’s summer, and a hike in the sunshine beckons—but so does the yoga class that starts in 15 minutes. Fortunately, opportunities to mix a session of invigorating trail hiking with focused, mat-free asana practice are everywhere these days.
It’s no surprise that this practice has become a trend, says Eric Kipp, who started Hiking Yoga four years ago with 90-minute yoga-plus-hiking excursions in the San Francisco Bay Area. “There are lots of hikers who are tight as piano wire and lots of yoga people who are really out of aerobic shape,” he says. Yoga helps regular hikers become more limber, mindful, and aligned when they hike. And hiking offers greater lung capacity and overall-fitness to yogis who tend to do a less aerobic mat practice. What’s more, it’s a form of holistic multitasking that allows you to savor nature as you deepen your yoga practice.
Doing yoga on unfamiliar turf (literally) brings other benefits. In Kipp’s view, the unfamiliarity makes the experience rich. In life, he says, “you can’t control everything in your environment.” Learning to stay focused enough to practice yoga outside the studio amid distractions like noise and weather, he adds, is good training for staying attentive and flexible off the mat.
Check out hikingyoga.com for information about yoga hikes in 14 US cities.
Pause at scenic points to stretch your muscles and expand your lungs for the rest of your journey.
1. Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Revolved Side Angle Pose)
3. Utthita Trikonasana (Extended Triangle Pose)
4. Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend)