The most common questions we receive about our weekends, not surprisingly, tend to be focused on the yoga classes themselves. For example, we get asked a lot of questions concerning, what type of yoga do we teach, how do we organise our classes, how long do the classes last etc.
Yoga has become so popular now and there is a vast choice of styles and yoga classes and also a booming lifestyle industry. Therefore, this blog post is aimed at clarifying a few of the questions and explaining what style of yoga classes we teach and our thinking behind them.
The most important point to bear in mind however, is that our yoga classes are intended for everyone, from beginner to experienced teacher. We always give options for yoga practice and on many of our weekends now, we offer a choice of classes as well.
Style of Yoga
It’s hard for a day to pass by without the media, or a celebrity, telling you the virtues of yoga and with so many choices of retreats, holidays and other yoga related events, we thought we would write this article about the yoga on our Yoga Hikes breaks.
The yoga classes on our breaks are mainly in the hatha tradition, with other influences also included where appropriate. Our teachers come from multi-disciplinary backgrounds and teach as such. You can expect a class to include vinyasa (flowing movement), classical hatha, restorative and yin yoga. Even a few ashtanga sun salutations if there is an intermediate class!
We also incorporate many of the principles of yoga for sport in our classes – taking into account the work the physical body will be doing or has done. Hiking like any other activity involves a repetitive motion of the lower limbs and if you are not careful a less than ideal posture. Our morning classes usually involve some flow, breath practice and postures to awaken the legs and spine in preparation for the day’s hike. If you are used to a dynamic practice or an ashtanga practice you may find the morning classes a little gentle, but its really important to get the balance right, practising and moving enough in the yoga class but saving some in reserve for the hike.
Language in the class will be down-to-earth and there is usually no chanting, although there may be 3 Oms at the beginning or end of the class, depending on the group and teacher to acknowledge yoga tradition. Classes are taught in a relaxed manner and the yoga on our events embrace the physical body, promote general well-being and healthy living in a sociable and relaxed environment. You may not reach enlightenment during our events, but you will certainly leave feeling more relaxed, invigorated and at ease.
Format of the Yoga Classes
We start our first class of the day usually at around 7:30am and it lasts around 75mins. This gives us enough time to have a practise that is long enough to wake up the body but not too long to tire us out before our hike. In any case, we can fuel up with breakfast straight after the class.
Our evening classes are also 75mins and upto 90mins in length after which we go straight to dinner.
The evening classes are very different to the morning classes in style and principle. More time is spent sitting/kneeling/lying on our mats instead of standing, literally taking the weight off our feet after our day’s hike. Honouring the work our lower limbs have made during the hike is the main focus of the evening session where we can use bolsters/blocks/bricks etc to help us restore the balance to the main muscles in our legs. There is also a focus on the back and shoulders as hiking can also cause tension in those areas. The practice is more static and an extra emphasis is added on the breath to calm the body, mind and working systems of the physical body.
Good quality yoga equipment is also provided so you don’t need to bring your own.
Bolsters and eye pillows are very popular for the evening sessions.
Qualified & Experienced Teachers
Yen is the main teacher on Yoga Hikes events, but we often have other teachers who are local, and fully qualified and experienced. All our teachers are down-to-earth, approachable and of course love nature and the outdoors.
5 classes on a typical weekend is quite a lot of yoga! Especially if you are new or maybe just practice once a week. Coupled with hiking, it can either make or break the weekend. However we do say that all activities are optional! With the yoga room onsite, food provided, hikes planned out, the weekends are a way to practice yoga in a very easy and uncomplicated way. You can literally roll out of bed, go downstairs or walk 1 minute away and you are there in class. No traffic, no parking, no pre-booking.
If you are new, it can be a steep but good learning curve, the muscles, body and mind will remember what is being asked of it, and you will notice a difference in your yoga practice and body awareness even in such a short space of time.
If you are a regular yoga practitioner, it allows you an opportunity to experience other styles and teachers, consolidate and advance your practice. We’ve had regular ashtanga guests who have never practised certain poses or used a bolster before so whatever your level , style of practice you can always take something away from weekends.
The direct physical effects of our classes can be amazing for some – the absence of muscle soreness the next day and the day after that, is the most common thing – meaning people can walk the next day, with the feeling of fresh and light legs. The switching off from usual habits and daily life, is also refreshing. The schedule is pretty busy and this means that you have some free time but not too much to dwell and instead are thinking ahead of the next yoga class, the next meal or the next hike….sometimes the lack of mobile signal or poor wifi can be looked upon with dread, but this detachment is good for the soul and times flies. And the next thing you know, we are in our last yoga class.
The benefits of walking and hiking are also well known, offering a low impact and weight bearing exercise that is accessible to almost everyone who owns a pair of shoes.
So whats not to like on a Yoga Hikes break?