When people think of yoga, they generally think of a form of exercise. Yoga is way more than that! Yoga is really about the way you live your life, it is in our everyday experiences and interactions. Yes, within yoga there are exercises, or postures you can do to build strength and stamina, amongst other things, but that is just one little part of yoga. Today I am going to talk about a few of the other parts of yoga. I’ll be teaching you how to practice yoga five ways WHILE hiking, with no yoga poses included (however, I am going to share some yoga photos from hikes, just for fun)!
1. Practice “Leave No Trace”
This is protecting nature and enjoying the outdoors responsibly. This is respecting the outdoors, teaching our children to respect the outdoors, taking care of our planet for the future. This is remembering that when you are in nature you are a visitor. When it comes down to it, this is cleaning up after yourself. These principles are very in line with yoga principles. Without using fancy yoga words I’ll just say: doing no harm, cleanliness, and respect for the world around you.
2. Treat Other Hikers with Kindness and Compassion
Share your smile, say hello, offer to take photos for others, be there to lend a hand if someone is in need. Treat everyone you encounter as you would like to be treated. We could take this even further and say treat EVERYTHING with kindness and compassion. Treat wild animals, and people’s pets with kindness, and again treat nature with kindness. Spreading kindness and love is a huge part of yoga. When you spread love it also brings happiness to you, it feels great to be nice to people!
3. Take Care of Your Body
Treat yourself with kindness and compassion. Hydrate and Nourish. This will relieve fatigue and will boost your energy and mood. Rest when you need to, and give yourself credit for your hard work. Feel gratitude for what your body enables you to do and treat it with kindness.
4. Notice the World Around You
Take time to notice the beauty of the world around you. Listen to the sounds of mother nature and notice the little things. Hiking quietly while listening to the sounds around you can easily become a walking meditation. Let yourself be in the moment, and cherish it.
So much of the greatness of yoga is in the breath. The breath is truly the foundation of a yoga practice and there are a ton of different types of breathing exercises you can do. If you are breathing with awareness, you are practicing yoga. So, focus on your breath, and feel the benefits of a good deep breath. It detoxifies the body, relives stress, gives you energy, strengthens your internal organs, and truly makes you happier and healthier. I have two favorite breaths to use while hiking. The first is to simply bring my awareness to matching the length of my inhale to my exhale. I will count to five as I inhale, and will do the same as I exhale, as I do this over and over I can lengthen my breaths and it becomes a sort of meditation. The second breath I love is the “sounding breath” a deep inhale and a loud sigh! This releases so much! Especially during a hard hike! Give these two types of breathing a shot on your next hike and let me know if you like them too!
So, you see, with no fancy yoga poses you may already be doing yoga while you hike! I clearly am a yoga lover, and one of my favorite things about yoga is that ANYONE can do it ANYWHERE! Yoga is about living a life of kindness and love, and embracing yourself for who you are. Yoga is not only done in a studio, it is done in your everyday actions. I hope these five ways to practice yoga while hiking help you find a way to work a little yoga into your life!
Much Love & Happy Travels,