Yesterday my husband and I packed a small cooler and took a day trip to Cold Spring, NY, a cute town a little over an hour from NYC. We hiked up part of Wilkinson Trail, a great hike for beginners who want a really good challenge. As I breathed in the fresh air, I felt my body working hard to climb up the steep trail. Even though I am not an experienced hiker, my yoga background helped me during my hike. I tried to keep my breath steady and my body relaxed as I strategically placed each foot in front of the other, climbing my way up the rocks. Practicing mindfulness and paying close attention to my breath, body, and thoughts were the keys to my success during the climb. I noticed when I was aware, mindful, and relaxed I could keep my footing as I walked up the rocks. When I lost my breath, I lost my stride, and slowed down a lot. During difficult parts of the climb I would catch myself clenching my jaw and tensing up areas of my body unnecessarily and this would eventually lead to negative thoughts. This is very similar to the reactions we have in our body during our yoga practice. We often clench our jaws, furrow our brows, and forget to breath during difficult postures and as result the practice becomes harder. No matter if we are hiking or practicing yoga, its important we watch out for signs of stress. Treating your hike or yoga practice as a mindfulness meditation gives you the skills needed to be present enough to notice the signs of stress that show up in the body and the mind.
Have you ever found yourself applying skills learned in yoga to other activities? If so share comments below.