Why the mountains? There’s something so grounding about yoga in the mountains. It becomes very intuitive to draw inspiration from the solidity of the mountains when we stand tall in Tadasana, and the wildflowers bending in the breeze teach us the slow, flowing pace of surya namaskars (sun salutations).” Plus, take a cue from professional athletes. Because the body requires more efficient use of oxygen at altitude you will optimize your workout time, so you can spend the rest of your retreat meditating, enjoying wildlife, and reflecting guilt-free. Step out of your present obligations and gift yourself this tranquil time at White Mountains to release the unnecessary tensions and unhealthy patterns that limit your creative potential. Yoga retreats help you figure out what matters most. Get clear. Get inspired.
When I signed up for a Hiking Yoga retreat, I wasn’t sure what to expect. This yoga fusion option started in San Francisco three years ago and made its debut in New York City, promising the chance to connect with nature, with stops for yoga along the way. At first glance, the concept of “hiking yoga” seems like an odd entry in the growing list of hybrid yoga classes, which mix downward dog and tree pose with everything from kickboxing to Pilates and ballet. I believe hiking yoga on the mountain trail isn’t just a trend. Hikes require sturdy shoes, not bare feet. On a hike, you swat away bugs, not just the buzzing thoughts yoga teachers suggest you clear from your mind. Walking meditation brings a number of benefits in addition to the cultivation of mindfulness. It can be a helpful way of building concentration, perhaps in support of sitting practice. The sensations of walking can be more compelling than the more subtle sensations of breathing while sitting. At times of strong emotions or stress, walking meditation may be more relaxing than sitting. An added benefit is that, when done for extended times, walking meditation can build strength and stamina.
You sign up, RSVP and pay in advance online. If the class gets rained out, or your plans change and you cancel at least 24 hours in advance, you get a credit for use at a later date. (They will probably take a break from around Thanksgiving until March.) You will develop an effective, personal meditation practice that will support the integration of mindfulness into every day living.
The instructor led us through mostly standing and balancing poses. On the plus side, we were in a secluded spot with birds chirping and a light breeze. But trying to pull off some yoga poses in sneakers threw me off balance; my triangle pose felt more like a wobbly trapezoid. Have you ever tried balancing poses without the benefit of a wall? The ground was uneven, and birds interrupted the silence as we closed our eyes and did more stretching and a little meditation. But the setting was peaceful, the tree branches rustled overhead, and I could feel myself relaxing. I enjoyed the change of scenery and the chance to practice yoga in the open air.
To close the class, we talked about “balancing against the challenges of the natural world,” and I realized that was a refreshing change — both from the annoyances of a yoga studio (too many people too close together) and from the man-made hassles of daily life (too many digital distractions). Escaping those familiar routines was the point, and trying to keep my balance with the ground at an angle was a reminder that those little challenges never really go away.
I’m certified in Wilderness First Aid
Blissful Inner-Reflection Yoga Hike Retreat, Saturday, July 9, 2016, 9:00-4:00, Waterville Valley, NH
This day of adventure and serenity will follow you home with the gifts of calmness and outdoor fun. You will see magnificant mountain views. Details here >>>