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Welcoming Spring and Gearing Up for the 2014 Season!

Spring 2014 is here and we are gearing up for our second season of Yoga Hikes DC!  Ready to hit the trails and take your yoga outdoors again?  After the unusually intense DC winter we just experienced, I know I am!  But first things first, I must extend a deep and heartfelt thanks to all of you who came out in 2013 for season one of Yoga Hikes DC.  You were one of nearly 500 people who joined me for an outdoor yoga and hiking experience in DC or at the Greenbrier in West Virginia.  Thank you for making season one so amazing and so much fun.  A few rough stats on who you were:

  • 85 % of you are women – though the men that have come out have been big fans!
  • 50% of you are coming from outside of DC (mainly MD and VA) to hike through DC and in Rock Creek Park
  • 85% of you have never gone off the bike path and onto the trails in Rock Creek Park
  • 99% of you like photos of yourself doing yoga outdoors – as evidenced by your re-posts on Facebook and Twitter!
  • 100% of you love yoga and hiking!  😉
Labor Day group

Photo opp of a great group after one of our Yoga Stops

So despite the fact that it’s April and was below freezing last night, I am optimistic that this spring is going to be fantastic.  That said, with the hope of having the most comfortable and consistent weather possible, the new start date for the Yoga Hikes DC 2014 season to Saturday, May 17th. Though many of you have expressed an interest in getting out sooner, starting in May worked great last year.  Having warm muscles is important for outdoor yoga!  Want to get out sooner?  Email me for a private or special group outing at danielle@yogahikesdc.com 

Greenbrier Yoga Hike

78 people participated in this Yoga Hike at The Greenbrier in West Virginia!

 

In the meantime, I look forward to reconnecting with many of you via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  If you have ideas or feedback for this season, PLEASE don’t hesitate to reach out and let me know.  Also, if you are interested in organizing a special outdoor yoga event or a private group Yoga Hike for friends, colleagues, or family, you can always contact me at danielle@yogahikesdc.com Happy Spring, everyone!

Yoga Hikes DC

Hiking back to the start!

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Your Cleanse Consultant Raves: Yoga Hikes DC!

Puree Juice Bar Blog by Cleanse Specialist & Yoga Instructor, Fern Langham

Seek adventures? Need a creative, original date idea? Looking for a healthy outing with a group of your best friends? Your cleanse consultant highly suggests: Cleanse your body, mind and soul by taking your yoga practice out in nature and pair it with a brisk, challenging hike. It’s the perfect unique date for couples, friends, and you and your nature-seeking self. If you live in or are planning a visit to the DC-metro area, Danielle Reyes is YOUR outdoor yoga concierge. Her start-up, Yoga Hikes DC, was created to provide you with a unique experience in secret nature gems tucked away in the heart of the Nation’s Capitol. Last month, I joined Danielle and a few other adventure-curious yogis including Pam Nixon, founder of Teachasana and Laurel Horody, founder of Living Yoga with Laurel for a challenging, scenic hike around the Capitol District as a finale for our weekend at the Yoga Alliance Business of Yoga Conference. The energetic group of yogis combined with Danielle’s organization, creativity, and safety-oriented mindset blew me away. If you are looking for a challenging workout, Danielle is your fearless leader. She’s keen on details, and she’s right on the ball! Highly, highly recommend!
Photo: Danielle Reyes, Yoga Hikes DC
Photo: Yoga Hikes DCWhat to expect:
The yoga hike is broken down into intervals – 20 minutes of hiking, 20 mins of yoga in each destination, 20 minutes of hiking to the next destination, and so on. You will sweat in during the hiking portion! Danielle keeps the pace moving quickly and stragglers are enticed to stay with the pack as she talks about the historical landmarks along the way. Her knowledge of DC sights and history of the parks is incredible and she keeps the facts light and fun along the way.
Photo: Yoga Hikes DCThere are three yoga portions, each 20 minutes in length. The first comprises of sun salutations, the second tests your balance and builds strength through standing sequences, and the third allows you to finally relax in seated forward folds and a meditation practice.image

Throughout class, Danielle sprinkles in alignment cues and safety pointers to help both beginners and advanced yogis get the most out of the outdoor yoga experience. As an advanced yogi, I noticed immediately that yoga in sneakers is a lot harder than barefoot, especially on uneven footing. Jumping back to chaturanga dandasana while keeping correct form was near impossible, and unsafe, given the twigs and bramble obstructing a clear path. Danielle made sure to emphasize modifications so everyone could enjoy the practice safely. Between the hike and yoga intervals, my legs and core felt pretty rock solid and well-worked. I slept well that night!

Key highlights: Danielle keeps a stocked backpack with all the essentials you may not even expect to find, such as:
Yoga squares for everyone (keep your bum clean thanks to these cropped sections of yoga mats)
Bug spray (clearly, bugs won’t cramp your style)
Sunscreen (just in case you forgot)
First aid kit (in case you aren’t paying attention and take an unfortunate stumble) Energy bar (did you forget to eat today?)

Our trusty guide frequently reminded the group to always be aware of the earth underneath us, whether we are balancing on twos, fours or seated. Unlevel ground enticed to stay present during the entire yoga hike. There are many more external sights and sounds than we would experience in a yoga studio. This served as a constant reminder to stay focused on our breath, our connection to the earth and our alignment in each yoga pose.


Photo: Yoga Hikes DC
Tips: Wear comfortable closed toe shoes for hiking. Pebbles may be frequent in your path, so open-toe Tevas may not be your best bet.
Wear long yoga pants that go past your knees. You may accidentally perfect your chaturanga dandasana today because you don’t want your knees to get dirty.
Stay present, at all times! In uttanasana, pour weight evenly into feet but know your limits and be careful not to shift too far forward, you don’t want to topple over (it’s been done!)


Photo: Yoga Hikes DCTo learn more and sign up, head on over to Yoga Hikes DC and stay up to date on the latest happenings on Facebook.For more healthy yoga and wellness inspiration from your cleanse consultant, sign up for the free weekly Sunday Salutations newsletter from Yoga with Fern.

ABOUT
portraitPuree Juice Bar Blog by Cleanse Specialist & Yoga Instructor, Fern LanghamAs an educator of Wellness & Ayurvedic Nutrition, registered Yoga Teacher & crusader for whole-body nourishment, Fern’s intention is to give you the tools you need to look and feel your best. She has worked extensively with a team of yoga instructors, nutritionists, acupuncturists, chiropractors, and integrative doctors, each who has provided her with knowledge that has revolutionized her lifestyle. After years of struggling with undiagnosed food allergies, digestive issues, an autoimmune thyroid condition, and nutrition deficiencies, she is finally glowing. Her passion is to help you find your glow, too.Learn more about Yoga with Fern.

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Yoga + Hiking = Awesomeness

A blog post by Mar on the Run

Thank you to blogger Mar on the Run for sharing her yoga hike experience in this fantastic post!  Please check out her blog for more!

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About a week ago a photo popped up in my Facebook news feed.  It was of Danielle Reyes, the owner and operator of Yoga Hikes DC and she was enjoying an off day hiking.  Seeing the name “Yoga Hikes DC” I was intrigued about this combo so I clicked on the Facebook page to learn a little more.  What I read interested me enough to sign up for a class this past weekend.  logo

As a runner I truly believe that in order to be more effective at it and reduce susceptibility to injury, you need to engage in other fitness activities.  I complement my running with strength training, cross training and on occasion – yoga.  Admittedly, yoga is one of those activities that I enjoy once I manage to actually get to a class.  My problem is I like to sweat and move and sometimes the slow meditative state of the practice doesn’t interest or motivate me enough to get to a class consistently, no matter how good for me I know it is.

In comes Yoga Hikes DC which offers 90 minute sessions of moderate hiking interspersed with Yoga practice, generally alternating between the two every 15 minutes.  Yoga and hiking in the same sentence?  That line alone had me very excited!!

A small group of us met up with Danielle at noon on Saturday at the entrance of Rock Creek Park near Calvert Street/Woodley Park.  Our route took us through the trails of Rock Creek Park along the water, out and back to Dumbarton Oaks Park, up a hill towards Montrose Park and a final descent and hill climb to where we started.  Even after being in DC for many years I have not ventured into these trails enough.  It is simply gorgeous back there!  creek_bridgeWe started at the opening of the park for a nice warm up, breathing exercises and some downward and upward dog practice.  Don’t worry about carrying a mat (or even bug spray, which you’ll need!), Danielle’s got it all in her backpack.  We were encouraged to simply enjoy and take in the nature and sounds around us.  Be forewarned though, if you are not into the elements or swatting away bugs this may not be for you!  It is truly a ‘nature’ hike!

yoga_sun

Hello sun!011

Time seemed to move really quickly during our session as we moved between yoga practice and hiking.  When we were in the hiking part of the session we were instructed to walk briskly and swing our arms to push through the terrain.  We stopped along the water to unleash our inner warrior with a sequence of poses along with upward and downward dog, planks and stretches (followed by a little hand dip in the water!) climbed a hill (or two) and practiced “Tree Top” by what else? a big tree.

 

mea_yogahike
Photo credit: Yoga Hikes DC

property of Yoga Hikes DC
Photo credit: Yoga Hikes DCYHDC

Danielle has the routes carefully mapped out and timed and I cannot think of a better way to get the best of both worlds in fitness and enjoy the outdoors.  She talked about adding different types of hiking/yoga adventures to the fold in the future but this is great for all fitness levels.  I truly enjoyed this class and am loving the concept.  I will definitely be back again!!  You can view more pictures of our Saturday adventure here on the Yoga Hikes DC Facebook page – and give it a “like” while you’re at it!

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The Biggest Studio in D.C. by Vicky Hallett, The Washington Post Express

Curious about Yoga Hikes?  We absolutely love this article by The Washington Post’s Vicky Hallett!  Read below or check out the online article to read more of Vicky Hallett’s pieces on fitness in the DC area http://www.readexpress.com/2013/09/the-biggest-studio-in-d-c/

The Biggest Studio in D.C.

Yoga Hikes move off the mat and explore parks across the city

By Posted on September 10, 2013

Photo Credit: Taldi Walter; Mark Squire

– See more at: http://www.readexpress.com/2013/09/the-biggest-studio-in-d-c/#sthash.zI7QDMfT.dpuf

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The Business of Yoga!

Always More to Learn and Room to Grow

Yoga Hikes was honored to be part of the 2013 Yoga Alliance Business of Yoga Conference held at the Capital Hilton August 8-10th.  The conference covered a broad range of  business considerations for those involved in the yoga industry.  It was incredibly well organized, highly informative, and had an extremely impressive roster of presenters from Tom Gardner of The Motley Fool to Julia Kadarusman of Wanderlust Festival.  Most importantly it was inspiring!

YogaAlliancelogo

For more on the conference, check out the Twitter hashtag #yogabiz.

As a yoga teacher and small business owner there is always more to learn and room for growth.  A conference like this gives you new ideas from how to organize workshops, practical guidance on important legal and insurance considerations, as well as strategies for turning your dreams into reality.  As the owner of Yoga Hikes LLC, I was pleased to be a member of the host committee, moderate a roundtable session on teaching yoga outdoors, and lead a sold out Urban Yoga Hike as the conferences final activity!

Yoga Alliance Urban Yoga Hike

One of the highlights of the conference was definitely taking the women below out on their first Urban Yoga Hike.  Yoga Hike participants ranged from studio owners to newly certified instructors who had come to the conference from as close by as Maryland and as far away as Canada!

YogaAllianceHike

To see photos of the Yoga Alliance Urban Yoga Hike visit our Facebook page!

We started our hike out at the Capital Hilton and continued up to our first YogaStop at the statue of Samuel Hahnneman, not known for splits, but for being the founder of homeopathic medicine!  We proceeded north to our next YogaStop at the Freemason’s Temple on 16th Street where we got into a great flow between the sphinxes, Wisdom and Power.  Finally, we hiked up to Meridian Hill Park where we conquered a major hill of steps to be treated by a great view of the city.  We completed our last YogaStop at the bottom of the Meridian Hill fountain with a family of ducks as our audience, before heading back to the hotel. As far as awesome energy goes, it doesn’t get much better than this group!  Special thanks to all of them for making that hike so much fun!

New Relationship with Ahnu Footwear

The conference was also a great place to meet vendors who specialize in products for Yogis.  In particular, I was thrilled to connect with Amy Tindal of Ahnu Footwear – a company that makes both hiking AND yoga footwear – what a match for Yoga Hikes!   I’m happy to be a new Ahnu Yoga Ambassador, which is a great program for instructors to sign up for.  I’m also extremely grateful to have Ahnu Footwear for supplying me with a pair of their new Women’s Sugarpine Hiking Shoe!

Ahnu Yoga

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Yoga Hikes’ Plan to Beat the Heat!

photo by Taldi WalterFor many, summer is about spending as much time outdoors as possible. We relish the long days, let loose our inner child, and enjoy outdoor activities with friends. Yoga Hikes is a great way to embrace all of these things and celebrate this playful season. There’s just one thing…the heat!

When the summer heat is at it’s most intense and an excessive heat warning or air quality advisory has been issued, Yoga Hikes takes it very seriously. Hazardous weather can have extreme consequences on our bodies, which are just not designed for intense activities in temperatures above 90 degrees. In such conditions, over exerting ourselves can result in heat related illness, exhaustion, and stroke. For this reason, Yoga Hikes will be cancelled during heat waves or days of excessive heat. Since the weather has become increasingly unpredictable, as of July 22, 2013 we’ve decided to modify our cancellation policy. For the rest of the summer, if you register for a hike that is cancelled due to extreme weather, we are happy to offer you the option for a refund or a full credit to your account for use towards a future yoga hike.

We are also going to offer a reduced and modified schedule that will take advantage of the cooler early morning and late evening temperatures.  Please see the current Yoga Hikes Schedule for updated times and check back in August for new 2 hour hikes to be added soon!

Don’t forget, it’s cooler under the trees and all of our Yoga Stops always happen in the shade! So grab a friend, wear loose fitting clothes, bring plenty of water, and prepare for a great workout on your next Yoga Hike!

photo by Taldi Walter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by Taldi Walter

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We Love What People are Saying about Yoga Hikes on Yelp!

Yelp LogoWe want Yoga Hikes to be the best experience it can be, so we take your reviews and feedback to heart!  After only 4 weeks in operation we are thrilled that participants have jumped right onto Yelp to share their positive experiences.  Not only is there a great diversity of voices and experiences expressed in these reviews, we’ve heard from 20-somethings to 40 somethings, and representatives from Maryland, DC, and Virginia!   Better yet, of the 7 reviews posted thus far we’ve maintained a 5 out of 5 stars rating!  Thank you!!

Haven’t seen the reviews?  Here’s a sneak peek!

Zack M. thinks – This is going to be the new thing in DC. It’s a good workout, takes place outside, and you get to be social during the hike. We went on the Pierce Mill  route, an hour and a half of hills and beautiful scenery. Danielle, the owner/instructor, is incredibly knowledgeable both about the area (ask her for suggestions on other hiking trails) and yoga. We stopped along the creek, at the top of a hill in a blooming field, and next to the Boulder Bridge for yoga breaks. This is a perfect way to start a weekend and especially great to do with friends or as a couple.

Melody F. writes – I went on my first yoga hike two week ago and I absolutely loved it. I took an Urban Yoga hike which started at Dupont Circle. I’m a plus sized fitness enthusiast and at first I thought it would be awkward to preform yoga in the middle of DC. However, the instructor Danielle was great about reminding us to move with breath, focus on shutting out the outside world, and focus on the pose. I’ve taken a few yoga classes but am still a beginner and I found the 15 minute yoga sessions challenging but do-able.  Once again, Danielle was very good at urging us to try our best, and find the fullest expression of each pose…I had a really fun and positive experience and I will definitely go on another yoga hike again soon.

According to new intern in town, Shannon S. – Just did my first yoga hike (Woodley/Dumbarton Oaks) and really loved it!  I will definitely come back to explore different parks and areas of dc.  I’m an avid hiker, but a yoga beginner and loved the combination of the two activities.  The hiking portions were pretty fast paced, and kept your heartrate up whereas the yoga helped you to relax.  Danielle was great, and very knowledgeable about the areas and yoga.  While hiking, we were all able to socialize and learned a little about the areas we were hiking through as well.  A yoga hike is definitely a great way to start your weekend!FULLLOGO-1

Park enthusiast Cara S. shares – Just did my first ever yoga hike with Danielle…and it will not be my last!  I did the 90 minute Nature Yoga Hike in Rock Creek Park and enjoyed every minute.  Danielle is a great yoga instructor and I was surprised at how much yoga I could actually practice without a mat in the great outdoors.  She’s also a good motivator to keep those legs moving up and down the hills and provides technique advice throughout the 90 minutes.  The hike took me through parts of Rock Creek I had never explored, and I’m certainly going to go back with my pup who will love exploring those trails.  I admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of exercise I got in the 90 minutes…she keeps you moving!

First time yogi Clayton L keeping it simple says – My first yoga class ever –Awesome!!!

For more reviews on Yelp please visit our page at http://www.yelp.com/biz/yoga-hikes-washington

 

 

 

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Washingtonian’s Fitness Bloggers Review Yoga Hikes DC

                  Washingtonian

 Fitness Class Review: Yoga Hikes DC

The new fitness program leads a hike through DC and Rock Creek Park interspersed with mini yoga sessions.
By Melissa Romero

Danielle Reyes leads a small group of hikers through a 15-minute yoga session in Montrose Park. It’s all part of the new program Yoga Hikes DC. Photographs by Melissa Romero.

Comments (1) | Published June 4, 2013

Washingtonians are such a fitness-loving bunch that hybrid exercise classes have become the norm. Barre and cycling? Been there. Yoga and Pilates (a.k.a. Yogalates)? Done that. I thought I’d seen all the city had to offer, until I stumbled upon the new program Yoga Hikes DC.

For the past three weeks, those who frequent Rock Creek Park may have come across a small group of yogis practicing their tree pose or Warrior II at the foot of the creek. Or maybe they’ve drawn stares in Dumbarton Oaks as they stop for a quick Downward Dog before setting out once more on one of the many winding trails.

It’s all part of Yoga Hikes DC, the brainchild of Danielle Reyes, who offers 90-minute urban hikes through the city interspersed with 15-minute yoga breaks along the way. Reyes, who grew up hiking with her family in upstate New York, says yoga became the “perfect counterbalance” after her muscles began suffering some wear and tear from running and hiking. Combining hiking and yoga into one workout was just an easy fix. After noticing the huge following of hiking yoga in other major cities, including San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, Reyes wondered, “How do we not have this in DC?”

On Saturday morning I joined Reyes and a group of six women for a yoga hike through Rock Creek Park, Dumbarton Oaks, and Montrose Park. Reyes carried all the supplies we’d need—sunscreen, bug spray, mini yoga mats—in a backpack and led us to the start of a trail below Calvert Street.

Before beginning the hike, Reyes led us through our first 15-minute yoga session under a canopy of trees, encouraging us to be aware of our surroundings. “In a typical yoga class you’re asked to tune everything out,” Reyes said. “This class I want you to take everything in—the sounds, smells, and sights.”

After a few downward dogs and some bug scares (expect to find a few critters crawling around), we headed into the woods to begin the brisk hike. This is no leisurely hike—Reyes has each route mapped and timed so that the group reaches each yoga spot on schedule. But each 15-minute session flew by, as we did Warrior II poses under the searing sun at the bank of the creek, and as we hiked through the public portion of Dumbarton Oaks, where many of us exclaimed in wonder over the 27 acres of land.

Reyes says introducing people to the many trails of DC was a big reason she decided to launch Yoga Hikes DC: “I just didn’t realize how few people know a lot of the trails around Rock Creek Park, or they just don’t know what to expect.”

After climbing one big hill—each hike includes at least one—Reyes led us through our last yoga session in Montrose Park, where we fittingly did tree poses while gazing up at a giant tree. But just as soon as we handed our mats back to Reyes, we were off again to finish the hike back to trailhead.

Although Yoga Hikes DC is still new, Reyes is already considering a few additions, including longer hikes out in Great Falls or Shenandoah National Parks, or throwing in the occasional yoga run for those more experienced. But for now, Reyes is confident Yoga Hikes will easily find a place in DC: “It’s social, it’s outdoors, it’s active. Those are the three check boxes for me—and it fits really well into DC’s culture.”

Yoga Hikes DC is $25 for drop-ins. Enter the code FFSPRING at checkout to receive a 20 percent discount. Reyes leads four to five hikes each week beginning in Dupont Circle and Rock Creek Park.

Categories:

Fitness Fitness Classes

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Yoga Hikes DC featured in Washingtonian’s “4 Unusual Fitness-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day”

We couldn’t be more excited about being mentioned in Washingtonian online!  Special thanks to Well + Being reporter, Melissa Romero, who joined us, not as an observer, but as a full on participant for the Rock Creek Park/Dumbarton Oaks Park/Montrose park Nature Yoga Hike.  We’ve included the excerpt on Yoga Hikes DC below, but for the full article, click on the image or visit http://www.washingtonian.com/blogs/wellbeing/fitness/4-unusual-fitness-friendly-ways-to-celebrate-memorial-day.php



Washingtonian Logo

4 Unusual Fitness-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day
Practice yoga in the woods of DC or try standup paddleboarding for free on the Eastern Shore.

There are lots of fitness-friendly ways to celebrate Memorial Day in Washington, from standup paddleboarding to yoga and hiking in Rock Creek Park.   Photograph via Shutterstock.
Published May 24, 2013 [EXCERPT]

Each year on Memorial Day, through barbecues and picnics with family and friends, we remember those who lost their lives while serving in the US Armed Forces. But before lighting up the grill, why not celebrate by working out with a US Marine or going standup paddleboarding in Annapolis, home to the US Naval Academy? Check out these four unusual fitness-friendly ways to celebrate this weekend.

Yoga and Hiking in DC Saturday at 9 and 11:30 AM

The new program Yoga Hikes DC is led by Danielle Reyes, who takes a small group of yogis and hikers on 90-minute jaunts through Rock Creek Park and Dumbarton Oaks. Appreciate the woods during a brisk 45-minute hike with three 15-minute yoga breaks mixed in. Register at yogahikesdc.com.

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The Yoga Hikes Season has Begun!

Thank You for Making our Launch Awesome!YogiHiker bridge stretch

If you’ve been wondering why you hadn’t heard about Yoga Hikes before, it’s because we are new! Yoga Hikes DC launched in May 2013 and is off to a great start thanks to people like you!   It’s only May and we’ve had some fantastic Urban and Nature Yoga Hikes and have already made it through days of steady drizzle and days of heat and humidity.  Conditions won’t always be ideal, but that has not stopped  you from showing up and giving 100%.    Those of you who have participated in our inaugural Yoga Hikes have been amazing! We can’t thank you enough for your energy, enthusiasm, and sense of adventure.  It proves what we already knew to be true about this region…it is comprised of amazing people who love to be out and about and are always up for new activities.  So first things first, THANK YOU!

Email Us Your Feedback

Nothing is more rewarding than having a student return for more!  So it was thrilling to have that happen multiple times after only one week of Yoga Hikes!  We hope to keep providing you with a quality yoga and hiking workout and are committed to making your experience as positive as it can be.  To do this, we rely on your feedback and encourage you to contact us directly.  We are new and know that there is always room for every business to grow and improve.  Please always feel free to follow up with an email or call to share your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions whether it is about the Yoga Hike you went on, the registration process, or the hike selection!  Send emails to danielle@yogahikesdc.com or call Danielle at (202) 670-6120.  You can be among the first (gulp!) to write a review on Yelp at http://www.yelp.com/biz/yoga-hikes-washington#query:yoga%20hikes

Last Call for Special Spring Promotion (ends 5/31/13)

Our “We Love Spring” promotion will come to an end at the end of the month!  Use promo code: FFSPRING for 20% off of our Drop In rate or really take advantage and use it on our already discounted 3 and 5 Hikes Pass.

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