Yoga Exercises for Hikers [Video]
A moving meditation.
Staying present in the moment.
Enhancing awareness and experiencing something larger than yourself.
Finding steadiness and ease.
Yogis and hikers have more in common than they may realize.
The physical actions of each are different and can support one another in addition to the mental and physical challenges they both offer.
I recorded three videos to assist hikers with maintaining or creating a yoga practice. With so many poses and ways to practice, many many more sequences can be created and adjusted. Just three for now. This series is inspired by all things hiking and backpacking but especially by my upcoming thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. All athletes can benefit from this series, though it’s oriented for backpackers.
The videos are all relatively short. You want to get outside, right? Feel free to practice at home enough so you’ve got an idea of how the flows go so that you can practice on your own out on the trail — or download on a device so you can practice with more guidance.
It’s entirely possible to have a rich yoga practice while out on the Trail. In this post, I’ll focus on the asana (poses) rather than other aspects such as meditation.
A sleeping pad can double as a yoga mat or you can simply practice without. A note about anatomy and staying safe: if you are practicing in shoes or boots, please do not take an upward facing dog pose (urdhva mukha svanasana). With the additional material beneath your feet it’s very easy to compress your low back even if you’re paying very close attention to your alignment. All the poses will feel and look a little different if you choose to wear shoes while you’re practicing outside, so take it easy and keep a slight bend in your knees as you re-learn how your body experiences the poses.
Hiker Training — A video for strengthening and getting your body and mind ready in general. Having a baseline of strength and flexibility is really helpful before you hit the trail. A quick ten minute flow that targets hips, psoas, glutes, and chest opening. Options for a bind, too! (10 minutes)
Pre-Hike Sequence — Ideally, this yoga sequence is practiced right before going on a hike. Invigorating and stretchy, this video will get you ready for a long hike without absorbing all of your energy. You’ll be ready for a full day with a full pack. (17 minutes)
Hiker Core Warmer — Sometimes we choose to camp in cold weather. Sometimes the cold weather decides to find us. Either way, there are often times when it’s incredibly hard in the morning to leave your cozy tent to get outside and get on with your day. This flow is focused on your core and is to help you warm up while in your tent. Need a little more warmth? My go-to is dolphin plank (forearm plank). Get warm and stay warm! (9 minutes)
While on the trail, I won’t have the access to make more videos but will be able to offer sequences with pictures. Any requests? A type of sequence you’d like to see? Please leave your comments!
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the complement of yoga to your backpacking.
Yoga Sutra II.47
The means of perfecting the posture is that of relaxing or loosening of effort, and allowing attention to merge with endlessness, or the infinite.
(prayatna shaithilya ananta samapattibhyam)
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