Five Nature-Inspired Yoga Poses for Hikers

Training for a long-distance hike? Consider adding yoga to your weekly routine. There is nearly no better way to prepare for a successful, long-distance hike, during which your whole body must stay engaged and active to avoid injury. But don’t take my word for it. Many hikers practice yoga.

According to the experts, this weight-bearing, low-impact practice:

  • stimulates bone growth
  • strengthens and stretches every ligament, tendon, muscle in your body
  • increases stamina and confidence
  • reduces anxiety
  • lowers your resting heartbeat
  • restores balance
  • strengthens your core
  • And much more!

Is it an accident that so many Yoga poses are named for plants, trees, animals, and features of landscape? I don’t think so. Try out these 5 nature-inspired yoga poses for hikers, and consider adding them to your morning and evening hiking “chores.” You won’t regret it!

1) MOUNTAIN POSE

 

Tips:Mountain Pose

  • Engage your core.
  • Imagine¬†two straight beams of energy rising up from the ground through the soles of your feet and meeting in your core, and then, driving all the way up and out of the top of your head.
  • Tuck your tooshie.
  • Raise your chin.
  • Imagine the warm morning sun on your chest and allow that expansion.

Variation:

  • Engage your toes, hands, and fingers for a fully engaged pose

 

Benefits:

  • Grounding & calming
  • Confidence building and taking up space
  • Full body engagement
  • Core engagement

2) PIGEON POSE

Tips:

  • Keep your hips squared and facing forward.
  • Use a towel to create more hip balance if needed (photo).
  • Keep the knee on your extended leg revolved down to the floor.
  • Keep the toes on your extended leg pointed.
  • Keep the toes of your bent leg active and flexed.

Benefits:

  • Hip opener
  • IT band stretch
  • Calming
  • Back stretch

3) EAGLE POSE

Tips:

  • Keep your hips squared and facing front.
  • Rather than focusing your energy on the twist, focus on your center.
  • Imagine your energy flowing straight forward and straight upwards.
  • Engage your core.

Variation:

  • Reclined Eagle

Benefits:

  • Hip opener
  • Enhancing balance and sense of center
  • Hamstring stretch
  • Quadricep stretch
  • Core engagement

4) TREE POSE

Tips:

  • Begin from Mountain Pose.
  • As slowly as you need to, transfer the weight of your body into one foot.
  • Keep your hips squared and facing front.
  • Raise one foot to rest on the opposing inner ankle, knee, or thigh (photos).
  • Tuck your tooshie.
  • Imagine energy rising up from the ground through the sole of your foot and driving all the way up and out of the top of your head.
  • Press your resting foot against the opposing inner ankle, knee, or thigh and use that opposing part to press back as well.
  • Engage your core.


Benefits:

  • Hip opener
  • Enhancing balance and sense of center
  • Grounding & calming
  • Full body engagement
  • Core engagement

5) COBRA POSE

Tips:

  • Begin lying flat on your tummy.
  • Point your toes.
  • Press the tops of your feet into the ground.
  • Press the tops of your legs into the ground.
  • Imagine a beam of energy running from your toes all the way to your glutes.
  • Now, slowly and gently raise up.
  • The desired sensation is lift rather than crunch.
  • Engage your core.

Variations:

  • Reach your arms straight back and keep them parallel to the ground.
  • You might even interlace your fingers.
  • Or reach your arms out in front of you and raise them up.

Benefits:

  • Grounding & calming
  • Full body engagement
  • Core engagement
  • Strengthening

Bonus: BIGFOOT POSE

Please note: This is not a legit Yoga pose. Rather, this pose was invented by Bigfoot by at least 1967 and perfected by my sister, Walkie, during our first 47 miles of Georgia on the AT.

Tips:Bigfoot Pose

  • Keep your hips squared and facing front.
  • Rather than focusing your energy on the twist, focus on your center.
  • Imagine your energy flowing straight forward and straight upwards.
  • Engage your core.Variations:
  • Consider performing for your fellow hikers in camp.
  • A competition might be fun.
  • Best bigfoot pose wins a S’more.

My sister, Walkie, and I will be back on the Appalachian Trail this fall, beginning in Hogpen Gap and crossing over into North Carolina. The recent several-month delay in our journey only gives us more time to prepare and recondition. For us, yoga is a huge part of that.

A special Thank You! to our treasured family member and photographer, trail name Undun.

Myrt & Walkie,
The Yoga Sisters

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Comments 1

  • Walkie Talkie : Aug 1st

    Walkie Talkie here! Yes, I do love doing a good Big Foot impression. To the readers out there, what kind of stretches do you like to do on the trail? I love rolling out my ankles so I don’t actually roll them on the trail.

    Reply

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