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  • Health and Safety

How is Yoga beneficial for Trekking/Hiking?

Published On 27 Apr 2020 by Oshank Soni

"Yoga allows you to find a new kind of freedom that you may not have known even existed." - B.K.S. Iyengar

If you love nature, mountains, treks, exploring challenging trails, supplementing your workout routine with Yoga Asanas and Pranayama will surely enhance the positive difference in the fitness and endurance levels, resulting in overall performance upgrade.

Physical Benefits of Yoga Asana Practice

Some treks may be excruciating, rigorous, and demanding and require a mind-body synergy. Cramped /sore muscles, the stiff back can ruin the pleasurable and productive trek time. As much as you'd love to push through pains/aches during a course of a trek/hike, that is not a sensible way to deal with it and may put you on a higher risk of injuries.

Whether you're an expert or amateur trekker or trying it out for the first time, Incorporating the regular practice of Yoga Asanas can help target weak areas and build up the body gradually over time with Better Flexibility, Range Of Motion, Balance, and Focus.

Stronger glutes and hamstrings will help you hammer out uneven trails and distances, whereas focusing on core muscles will support the spine which is extremely vital to avoid tensed up and rounded/ rolled-in shoulders due to heavy backpacks, and a sore neck from constantly gazing down & moving ahead. Another advantage is Faster Recovery from intense trek fatigue and overworked areas of the body. Regular practice reduces the lactic acid build-up, Regenerate & Repairs the tissues to enhance recovery time.

Importance of Breathe work /Pranayama Practice 

How did Yogis manage to live a longer, healthy life in higher altitudes? They mastered the art of breathing via Pranayamas, to preserve the energies and survive rough conditions. At higher altitudes, low atmospheric oxygen levels and the bone freezing cold can put us vulnerable to injuries and may cause high altitude threats such as Hypoventilation/ Altitude Sickness/AMS.

Pranayama techniques Boost immunity, Improves & maximizes the lung capacity, increases oxygen supply in the blood, and strengthen the respiratory system. It's a major tool to assist us to acclimatize with the harsh climate conditions and breathe better especially during high altitude mountain treks.

Here are few breathing techniques which can be practiced regularly:

a) Nadhi Shodhana :

b) Bhastrika

c) Ujjai breathing

d) Kapalbhati

e) Bhramari Pranayama

Joy of Yoga in the arms of Nature

Yoga means union. Living in harmony with nature is said to be one of the highest forms of Yoga. And what better way to enrich the trek experience, reflect, express our gratitude for all that nature has to offer by performing Yoga asanas, Pranayam, meditation amidst nature. 

Fresh Air, Sunshine, and Digital Detox  - Happiness!

Emotional and Mental Wellness

This holistic practice with discipline and patience will benefit the mental and emotional wellbeing, diminish stress & anxiety, and develop awareness, self-confidence, trust, and overall quality of life. Yoga is Bliss for the mind and body, maneuvering us from Bahirang (external/outer path) to Antarang (internal) Sadhna.

Asanas/Poses for Trekkers/Hikers:

1. Suryanamaskar/Sun Salutations are a great way to warm up and prep the body.

2. Malasana

3. Downward dog

4. Uttanasana/ Standing Forward Bend

5. Baddhakon Aasana (butterfly pose)

6. Low lunge / Anjaneyasana

7. Triangle/ Trikonasana

8. Sarvangasana & Halasana :

9. Inversions (upside down poses) - the blood rush to the head sends more oxygen to the brain.

10. Mobility drills- Especially for Neck, Legs, and Shoulders