We start each day of our yoga hiking weekends and breaks with a yoga session before breakfast to warm up our joints and energise the body in preparation for the day ahead. After breakfast, we head out for our hike, and then return and usually have tea and homemade cake and a short break before another yoga session in the late afternoon/early evening to cool down and stretch out after our hiking. On a shorter weekend you can expect3-4 yoga sessions and on a weekend that starts on Friday evening, 5 yoga classes.
At some of our venues, we are able to offer a more tailored class according to experience and ability and and at each session there will be a beginners/gentler class and also an intermediate class.
The yoga is varied and so will be suitable for beginners as well as for those who have practised before. We find that often there is a wide spectrum of yoga experience within our groups from yoga teachers to total beginners! Options are always offered and the emphasis is on safety so if you feel that something is not for you at the time, then its best not to try it.
The general focus of the morning yoga sessions will be to energise and warm up the body for our walk, but getting the balance right bearing in mind that we will have a full hike ahead of us. In the afternoon, the yoga session is slightly longer and will focus on stretching out those tired muscles, restoring our pre-hike posture and relaxing the body. Yoga and hiking together allows the body to move and breath in different but complimentary ways and you should leave us feeling refreshed and with a sense of well-being.
The yoga is hatha-based, but does not keep to any strict style throughout, Yen plans the classes based on the physical activity of hiking, incorporating several styles and taking into account the experience of the group. All sessions will include a warmup/mobilisation of the joints, breathing practice, classic seated/kneeling/standing/lying postures and with a relaxation at the end.
In the morning session, you can expect some flow yoga, possibly a version of sun salutations and other standing postures to wake up the body and bring energy. In the evenings sessions, you can expect a slower more static practice (more yin and restorative in style) using yoga props where appropriate.
Our teaching style is all-inclusive and down to earth, ensuring a safe and friendly environment to practice.
Yoga is one of those rare times when its perfectly acceptable to be selfish so practice how you want and how you feel, taking the options offered for your ability.
Your teacher may mention the more subtle aspects of yoga, and use Indian names for postures, but will generally stick to mainstream physical postures, using Western names for postures and breathing techniques that help us prepare and recover from our hiking.
Background music is usually played and we usually do not chant and there is no incense burning. If health and safety allow, we do have soya wax based candles that are fragrance and allergy free and more environmentally friendly.
Your teacher may adjust people at certain times and will always ask if it is ok to do this, but usually gives verbal cues so that you can adjust yourselves.
If anyone has any injuries, issues or concerns, please contact us in advance. We also always ask for a participation form to be completed in advance of our yoga and hiking breaks. Your teacher always encourages the use of yoga props and offers options wherever possible to encourage a safe practice and to make postures more realistic and accessible.
For our UK yoga weekends, yoga props (blocks/straps etc) are provided. Yoga mats can also be provided if requested but some people prefer to bring their own. For our Spanish breaks, you can hire a mat from us at a small charge, or bring your own.
Yen has written an article for Trail Magazine, recommending specific yoga stretches for hikers, here is the link