Hiking and Yoga: Two Activities, One Good Attitude

yoga_hikers.jpgAn example of yoga during a university hiking trip in Colorado. Zach Dischner/flickr

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

What better way to hike than with a little yoga? The Kodiak Audubon Society enlists community members to lead hikes along local trails from moderate walks through Abercrombie to more challenging mountains like Barometer.

One leader is Veronica Costa-Bolton, who’s a yoga teacher in town and says both hiking and yoga encourage you to embrace the complete experience over the temporary hurdles.

“It lets you sort of get to know that that sensation, that burning in your thighs, it’s not a permanent feeling, it’s just sensation,” says Costa-Bolton. “It’s gonna come in there, you’re gonna feel it, experience it for what it is. The hardest part is that sometimes the mind grabs hold of a sensation and says ‘this is horrible, you’ve got to stop this immediately, just quit.’ But that’s not your body saying that, it’s your mind.”
   
Costa-Bolton has been leading groups for the Audobon Society for two years and says each guide brings a part of themselves to the hike. She says she incorporates yoga.

“As we hike, especially a tough hike, we tend to curl forward, pull the body forward, chin down, and we just sort of bowl our way up the mountain, not really taking a lot of time to look around,” says Costa-Bolton. “Yoga hikes are asking you to slow down, to look around, and to occasionally become aware of how you’re holding your body.”

Costa-Bolton says the Audubon Society and its trails are meant for anyone and everyone.

“You’ll get a range of people from ‘I’ve never hiked before, this is my first time on Kodiak’ to people who run the trails. Audobon is great, because we have two representatives from the Audobon Society, and usually one will be in the front, and one will be in the back. So you always have a support system on either side.”

She says Saturday morning they’ll hike Barometer.

“And Barometer of course has quite the reputation. It sort of looms off in the distance as the uber mountain, straight up straight down, but I love Barometer because it teaches confronting things that are intimidating,” says Costa-Bolton. “It allows you to sort of come back home to yourself and say okay, I don’t need to get to the top. I’m gonna go each step one at a time.”

And she says it teaches you grit and that your body can continue even if your mind thinks it can’t. If you want to tackle the hike tomorrow, Costa-Bolton says to meet at 9:30 a.m. in front of the ferry building at the end of Center avenue downtown. You can find a full schedule of Audubon hikes here.

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