On meetup.com, there's a Phoenix, AZ based group called Women's Fitness Network, which I learned about on the SparkPhoenix Team. Yesterday, I attended the Yoga-Hiking at South Mountain event. It was an intriguing idea, my beloved yoga mixed together with my favorite outdoor fitness activity: hiking.
We met up at the ramada near 48th Street & Guadalupe. The hike leader, Jezaree (Jezy) is a certified yoga instructor who loves to hike. The yoga-hiking event is her brainchild. Including Jezy, there were eight women on the hike.
The beginning of the hike edged a municipal golf-course.
We stopped at a clearing in the desert, sat in a circle, and Jezy led us in yoga breathing and guided us to breathe out anything we didn't want from 2012 and breathe in our intention(s) for 2013.
As we turned to head west on the trail, look what we saw gliding overhead:
When you stop to take photos, you end up behind everyone!
It was a perfect day for the hike: about 60 degrees F, sunny and clear. The exact type of weather that attracts snowbirds to Arizona for the winter. Despite the very crowded parking lot, South Mountain is such a gigantic park (the largest municipal park in the USA and the 2nd largest in the world), that we really didn't cross paths with the hundreds of people using other trails in the park.
After hiking for 20-30 minutes, Jezy found another clearing where we could stop for some yoga stretching.
The desert is my sanctuary. The muted colors and striking ability of flora and fauna to survive in its harsh environment fascinate me.
That's my city over the hills and far away, and some beautiful rocks with a spunky barrel cactus growing near them. Many places along our walk, you couldn't even tell there was a city nearby; while on some of the hilltops, you could get views like the one above.
It was fascinating to see the evidence of ancient ancestors of the southwest being here a thousand years ago. That evidence? Petroglyphs such as those shown on these rocks:
Another 20-30 minutes in and it was time for the next yoga break on our hike.
That's our hike leader, Jezy standing. She's guiding us through some seated twisting stretches.
My first experience with yoga-hiking was outstanding. It was a good cardio workout, I felt the hike in my legs as we were going; however, with the yoga built in, I didn't feel sore the next morning when I awoke. Learning to take my yoga practice off the mat in the studio and out into Mother Nature was a wonderful experience.
Jezaree intends to lead these hikes a couple times every month. I'll definitely be on board to participate! Perhaps some of them will be longer and/or more difficult routes. The hike we took was a good beginner hike, 3.2 miles and just under two hours.