You have just finished your first big hike, you’re starting to feel your muscles shorten and your back is screaming for a soothing bath or massage. Maybe the bath and massage is a far cry away, but here are some poses to allow your mind, body and soul reap the full benefits of your journey through nature.
1. Release emotional tension and your spine with a Standing Backbend.
The same onward and upward posture that carries you up the hills and mountains tends to force a forward collapse of the torso. When you’re not hiking, it is a good idea to open your chest to maintain a proper posture. An open chest is critical to help you maintain deep and consistent breathing. Anyone who has ever hiked knows the magnitude of sustaining full constant deep breathing for effective climbing. This pose is also great for releasing negative energy so be sure to absorb the positive vibes around you with every inhalation of that beautiful fresh clean air and detoxify yourself of negative energy with every exhalation.
2. Improve your sense of self, release sacral and root chakra pressure and open your hip flexor and glutes in your perfect pigeon pose….
When you climb and hike, you engage your glutes to the max!! There’s no better way to open the glutes and hip flexer than spending some time in pigeon pose for three to five minutes on each side. Pigeon pose also releases the pressures put on our lower two chakras; our root and sacral chakra. These lower two chakras house our relationships with ourselves, and each other. It’s a foundation for grounding potential: our needs for survival,
intimacy, trust and stability all reside here in these two chakras.
3. Feel the earth under your feet with a strong grounding Standing Forward Bend for your root chakra.
If you are an avid hiker, you know it is important to keep your hamstrings flexible and strong. The more open the hamstrings are the less strain on your knees and the better your posture will be (specially when carrying the weight of a backpack). When the hamstrings are tight, the pelvis is misaligned and therefore causes strain in the back. To prevent tight hamstrings and backpack use gravity to your advantage, holding a standing forward bend for several minutes. This will help open your hamstrings, improve legs and back strength and also provides stability, helping to open your root chakra (Located at the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, and the first three vertebrae).
4. Detox your body, renew energy and maintain your range of motion with this Revolving Triangle pose.
This pose is particularly useful to stimulate detoxification your internal organs with a gentle twist of your body. It also opens your solar plexus thus improving the flow of energy throughout your body (its sure to help you find your second wind during uphill battles with that mountain hike). When hiking, it is important to keep the illiotibial bands (IT band), which run alongside the outside of your thigh, open and flexible. The IT band helps protect your knees and gives you the best range of motion. Although the IT bands are hard to stretch, try this revolving triangle pose. If balance is an issue lay on your back, grab you right big toe with your left hand. Or, put a strap around your right foot and hold both sides of the strap with your left hand. Extend the right leg and bring it across your body simulating a revolving triangle while on the ground.
5. Open your heart chakra to the sun with Hero’s Pose.
Hero’s pose is the perfect pose to open the tops of your ankles and shins. When you hike, you tend to press onward and upward. The upward movement constantly flexes the ankle and stretches your Achilles and calves. To counteract this movement and the constant shortening of the top of the foot, sit in hero’s pose for two to five minutes. This pose is the ultimate pose to find gratitude, peace and serenity in your surroundings and the journey you are embarking upon. Take this loving opportunity open your heart to the sun; enjoy some deep yogi breaths, taking in the abundant surroundings of Mother Nature and all her beauty.