Many of us do yoga for a sense of retreat from the busyness of our daily schedules. Some go as far as trying to attain zen, while others are content with securing a free, uninterrupted hour for themselves. And while doing yoga in the confines of an air-conditioned studio is often enough to help you meet your objectives, nothing beats the feeling of doing yoga in nature – particularly a hiking trail. That why you should definitely try out Hiking Yoga.
In a New York Times Online blog post, Susan Stellin shares her experience with Hiking Yoga. She takes her yoga class to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York. She and her students are doing yoga where the ground isn’t completely flat, and holding poses where one can enjoy the silence and then, later, try to fight distraction from barking dogs and screaming children. More interestingly, though, Stellin provides a glimpse into what it’s like to do yoga in a place where you are disconnected enough from an increasingly connected virtual society, while still being close enough to learn to overcome the challenges of deliberately plugging out.
So here are some reasons for you to try Hiking Yoga:
As creatures of habit and comfort, we gravitate toward our favorite spots in the park, and miss out on other great areas the park has to offer. Hiking Yoga encourages you to seek out less populated, if not oft deserted, areas to execute your poses. Be careful not to get lost, though. And if possible, go on Hiking Yoga trips with a group of people. This is safer and guaranteed more fun. Which leads us to our next point…
Yes, this might sound like a cliché, but Hiking Yoga really is a great way to meet and mingle with new people. There isn’t a better way to connect with other people than through a shared love for yoga, and in a rather unconventional setting, at that. If you don’t have that option though, why not take the lead and gather around a group of your yogi friends for a new experience in the park or up in the mountains?
It’s easy to focus in a silent, zen-ic yoga studio atmosphere. But have you ever tried focusing where your surroundings give you as minimal an option to do so? When hiking in a park, there will be quiet areas and noisy ones–those with barking dogs, chattering moms, and squealing, screaming, and wailing kids. Yet therein lies the beauty of such a challenge: in an environment that isn’t conducive to focus, you are forced to learn other ways to do so.
Susan Stellin closes her story by expressing that Hiking Yoga teaches you what it truly means to break free and disconnect from the familiarity of their routine. More importantly, it teaches you what it truly means to be balanced in a world with distractions that never permanently go away. How’s that for an authentic yoga class?