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.
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! We 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!
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.
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!