I just went on a “yoga hike”. Yup, Hiking Yoga is a thing. A legitimate, copyrighted business started by this guy named Eric in San Fransisco. I was lucky enough to join the founder, Eric (a very pleasant, outgoing guy) on his second official Hiking Yoga trip in Central Park this morning. He is starting up a branch of this business here in NYC, training instructors to lead “yoga hikes” every Saturday and Sunday in Central Park and Prospect Park.
So what is a “yoga hike”? Well, you walk for a bit (maybe 1/2 mile) and then stop and do some “yoga poses”. I put “yoga poses” in quotes because it felt more like stretching than yoga. There were a few poses that I did not recognize (they may have been specially designed variations to complement the hiking) and some partner work that is not in a traditional yoga practice. It is also hard to get good alignment when you are on the grass or an uneven rock surface (in sneakers) and even harder to be fully mindful when you are watching kids doing an Easter egg hunt behind you on the grass. There are probably Hiking Yoga locations outside of New York city that are less crowded and allow for being slightly more “one with nature”.
It is, however, always amazing to exercise outside. And in NYC , it does not get better than Central Park. I was spoiled by doing Yoga outside every day in Bali so this sounded really cool. It got me out of the house and ALL the way up to the park, which does not happen often enough. It was a beautiful day, I caught up with a friend I had not seen in while (because you can chat while “yoga hiking”), and I got in about 3 1/2 miles of walking and some stretching and pseudo-yoga.
Personally, I think I will keep my yoga and hiking separate in the future. I love them both but would rather focus on one at a time. I recommend Hiking Yoga to anyone who wants to mix up their workout a bit or who needs motivation to take it outside. Definitely a cool thing to try if they have it in a city near you.