Hiking and Backpacking demand both physical and mental strength. It does not matter how much you train yourself for your next hiking excursion, you will still experience some pain and aches on the trail. After a long day of hiking, you may not feel like doing anything, but practising yoga can make a lot of difference.
A yoga routine is not only beneficial post hike, but some yoga poses can be practices in the middle of the day to avoid any potential aches, which are sometimes caused due to continuous walking. It also prepares you mentally and physically for a long day on the trail. Here are top 5 yoga poses that hikers and backpackers must try for a great outdoor experience.
- King Dancer
The king dancer pose, also known as Natarajasana is an asymmetrical standing, back bending, and balancing activity. This pose needs balance, flexibility, and strength. It assists in improving your posture by reducing your tendency to collapse the shoulders and chest. This pose helps you gain shoulder and spine strength as well as arms, legs, and back. It stretches your hip flexors, belly and chest.
Many novice hikers find difficulty in breathing while hiking, in case you face the same issue you should try this yoga pose. It stretches the pectorals and intercostals, reducing pressure on the diaphragm formed by slumping from sitting for long hours. This advanced posture is best to practice during or post hiking.
- Crow Pose
Best to do during or after hiking, the crow pose or Bakasana is an arm balance pose that stretches your upper back and groin. This pose focuses on strengthening your arm, core, and wrist. Initially, it may appear intimidating, but with your flexibility and strength, you’ll able to perform the pose in no time.
Pigeon aka Pada Rajakapotasana is included in hath yoga and is a back-bending pose. It helps stretch the hip flexors and hip rotators, enhancing the flexibility of your hip muscles. It is advisable to practice crow pose after hiking to relieve the post-hike stress.
If you feel any pain in your body while performing this pose, come out the way you got in, slowly.
- Warrior 2
The warrior 2 or Virabhadrasana II focuses on all muscle groups and is awesome for increasing the concentration power. It offers lower body benefits including hip opening and strengthening thighs and hips. It helps improve your balance and stability. Your core, back and ankles will gain strength. It is ideal to do before heading to the trail. It revitalises your body and mind too.
- Toe Breaker
After a long day of exploring the trail on your foot, it is great to stretch your legs. Relieving foot stress can be really tough, especially if you have been wearing heavy hiking boots. The Toe breaker pose utilises the weight of your body to release foot fatigue while strengthening the feet.
If you’re also planning a hiking or backpacking trip, you must try these yoga poses and enjoy your day on the trail without any pain.