Top 5 Yoga Moves for Hikers

Yoga for hikers
Photographer
Chris Istace

Top 5 Yoga Moves for Hikers

By Doc Pow

It’s been almost 10 years now that yoga and meditation have been a staple within my weekly fitness regime.

Understanding any Zen seeker is looking for ways to help make the most of their next hike, trail run or walk in the woods, here are a few top yoga poses. Add these poses and moves into your next hike to help elevate any post hike muscle issues.

As I was putting this story together – the first question I had for my Yoga coach – Andrew Dow of the Sunshine Coast’s Elements Studio – was should I be doing these before or after a hike? “To make the most of these postures, post hike is when you really want to practice these, holding each posture for five to 10 breathes, explains Dow. “No big stretches before as you are not warmed up yet, but if you wanted to, the start of your day of hiking can include these, but don’t hold them for very long, say five breathes per.”

Hikers pretzel time – top yoga moves to ensure a successful hike without a muscle hangover:

  • Bound Arms 
  • Lunging Quad Stretch
  • Wide Leg Fold
  • Reclined Twist 
  • Bridge Pose 

Here are some top tips to each pose:

Stretch

Bound Arms

Carrying a backpack your shoulders get rolled in, so this bound arms posture will help open up the chest and keeps the shoulders wide (Dow also recommends this pose for those of us who spend hours per day in front of a computer).

Stand tall, arms classed behind the back and just as you see in the picture, looking forward and now take 5-10 nicely paced breaths.

Yoga

Lunging Quad Stretch

This one is best on a yoga mat, or something that can protect your knees. You might like to use a strap as Andrew shows off here in the picture. This pose will open up the hip flexers, which get worked during hikes and a Lunging Quad stretch alleviates and levels out those tight areas.

Suggested Readings:

Yoga

Wide Leg Fold

Dow’s top tip for this inner thigh stretch is to have your feet positioned so that your heels wider than your toes, turn the toes in while keeping the legs strong.

Twist

Reclined Twist

The purpose of this stretch is to give a gentle twist of the spine and to open up the chest. Top tip is to keep your keens in line as you twist them one side left, take five to 10 breaths here, and then reverse them, opening up and giving a great stretch to the sides of your body. Should you experience any shoulder pain from opening up the arms as you can see Dow doing here, just bring arms into rib cage, and take deep slow breaths. 

Bridge

Bridge Pose

Initiate this one from the hips, opening up the sternum and strengthening the back body. While you push the hips up with your feet firmly planted, pull the shoulder blades together. This should feel pretty good post that big day out in Kananaskis or along one of BC’s multitude of hiking options. This one is really good for bringing strength into the back and opening up the chest and the abdomen. 

Of course, stretching post hike is great, but mostly our bodies get sore post exercise because we didn’t drink enough water, or we lost electrolytes on super-hot days. Another good recovery tip is to have some Electrolyte tablets – like these shown here from the brand Hydralyte (Shopper Drug Mart and most pharmacies carry them).

Last tip Dow recommends is during the hike it’s important to have awareness around effort and ease – hiking uphill lots? Take it easy on your body so that the effort you are putting out there, comes with ease to now overstress yourself.

Hiking Sunshine Coast

You can visit Dow and visit his studio all a part of your Sunshine Coast Trail experience; Canada’s longest hut to hut hiking experience, 187kms along the North part of the Sunshine Coast, offering up epic views that will leave lasting memories. Don’t forget to jump into one of Dow’s many class options post hikes, and leave the coast feeling like a million bucks; know and go.

Further Readings:

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