The Benefits of Yoga in the Mountains
We recently guided two yoga retreats in the mountains. At a time when our pace of life is getting more and more full, time to ourselves is increasingly rare. We all feel the need to recharge our batteries, live in the moment and take in fresh air. Those “ah hah” moments when we find our two feet grounded in the richness of a new path while immersed in the density of the mountains.
From a physical point of view, practising yoga in the mountains has specific benefits for our three major areas (body, heart, mind) as the series of asanas and pranayamas performed where the air is pure, allows the body and brain to be much more oxygenated and increasing the energy flooding into our bodies.
Yoga also has a spiritual dimension because it is intrinsically linked to the mind. Letting go, being truly present in your feelings and the here and now, self-care, concentration, anchoring, discovering who you really are. These are all important parts of yoga. This side of things really comes into its own when yoga is practiced against a huge, pure, simple backdrop like the mountains. No more urban pollution, goodbye concrete, begone niggling thoughts; your mind is completely filled by this idyllic landscape, so close to the sky and yet deeply anchored to the ground. The strength and power of the mountains makes them beautiful places of introspection where the ego is hushed by the immensity of nature. The mountains eclipse us. So here we are, in the here and now, in contemplation, silently practicing postures with our true selves. Being connected to this immutable force symbolised by the chambers of the mountains is truly magical.
“When you reach the top of a mountain, keep climbing.”
– A Tibetan proverb
Our weekend retreats consisted of 4 yoga classes – 1 power flow to shift and bring fire into the cool weather. The following classes framed the hike being YIN & slow moving as a silent remedy to unwind and restore. The cooling hush to be finally at rest, tools down and boots off.
A dance between surrender and control. Between pushing and letting go
When to push and when to let go.
The creative cohesion of expansion and exploration.
Our favourite go-to poses post-hike:
It is all about the physical and emotional release! FROG & SHOELACE to bring an inner and outer hip sensation. Breathe in and release.
Lets pour it out and take some time off the feet after walking for 3-4hrs! This helps to reduce water retention, any excess swelling in the legs or ankles, lightly stretches the hamstrings, lower back and pelvic floor relaxation.
Massage your inner arches by rolling a golf ball under the foot. Iron out knots and help with the plantar fascia and arch tendon.
LATERAL side body
Remove compression and restriction and deeply stretch into the primary breathing muscles.
A remedy for tightness, reduce back pain and lower the risk for injury before or after activity.
Twists go deliciously deep into your body’s core. Twisting your body stimulates your internal organs – particularly your liver and kidneys – which is why, in yoga, it’s often associated with detoxifying.
The only thing prominent in the outer world is the crackling sounds of the fire and sweet sounds of our gong and tibetan bowls.
Namaste from the DF crew