5 Mental, Emotional, & Physical Health Benefits Of Combining Yoga & Hiking
Hiking and yoga are two complementary activities that can help you boost your mood, lower stress levels, and improve physical fitness and stamina.
Both activities are effective when practice separately, but when you combine them together the benefits amplify.
Here are 5 mental, emotional, and physical health benefits you need to know about…
The healing power of yoga & hiking outdoors according to research
Research shows that engaging in nature-focused activities like hiking, forest bathing, and practicing yoga outdoors has real, tangible, physical effects like reducing cortisol (stress hormone) levels and increasing the activity of the immune system’s natural killer cells. (1)
Combining yoga and hiking outdoors also helps you get abundant doses of Vitamin D, which can further boost immunity, lower inflammation, and decrease the risk of certain diseases such as cancer, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.
Healthy Vitamin D levels are also linked to lowered anxiety and depression.
Yoga can help prevent hiking-related injuries
Pre-hike yoga asanas (poses) can help you build a solid foundation.
Taking the time to stretch before a hike will help to warm up your muscles so you can tackle whatever trail is before you.
Yoga helps you build strength and stamina too, so you can go for longer stretches without increasing your risk of injury.
You’ll also cultivate more body awareness through yoga, and this is always helpful on a hike because a lack of body awareness often means a potential slip or fall.
Yoga will also help you improve your balance, which is a good thing if you’re a hiker!
A post-hike yin yoga session can help to improve recovery
Have you ever felt sore or stiff after a hike?
Yin yoga can help to relieve those aches and pains by relaxing the muscles while strengthening your connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments.
Yin yoga is a slow-paced style of yoga that involves holding poses for a period of time whilst practicing stillness and mindfulness.
Just 15 minutes of yin after a hike can help your body recover more quickly and efficiently.
Try this 15-minute practice the next time you finish on the trail:
- Caterpillar pose (hold time: 3 minutes)
- Butterfly pose (hold time: 3 minutes)
- Ankle stretch (hold time: 1 minute)
- Bananasana (hold time: 2 minutes each side)
- Dangling (hold time: 2 minutes)
- Dragons (hold time: 1 minute each side)
Pranayama (yoga breathing) can help strengthen your lungs and respiratory system
Ancient yogis believed that the way we breathe can have powerful effects on our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.
In fact, they dedicated an entire limb or pillar of yoga to breath control.
Pranayama (yoga breathing) done outdoors helps you commune with nature in ways that being indoors does not.
The overall objective of yoga is to experience connection and union first within yourself and your body and then with the outside world.
You’re taking in the earth atmosphere with every inhale and just like that you engage in a synergistic give-and-take with Mother Earth.
Practicing pranayama regularly can also help to boost immunity, lower inflammation, lose weight, increase focus, improve sleep, and dissolve anxiety.
Turn your hike into a mindfulness meditation for increased well-being
True yoga practice asks us to approach each moment with curiosity and mindfulness.
Being in nature makes this easier.
When you commune with nature, breathe her air, and take in her sights your frequency begins to match her frequency.
The yogic principles of Self-Study (Svadhyaya) and One-pointed focus (Dharana) can help you cultivate mindfulness with every step you take on a hike.
National Park Hiking
To attempt to describe Zion National park in a paragraph is sheer folly. The main canyon contains the tallest sandstone cliffs on earth. The canyon brims with water that literally flows out of the cliff faces and creates some of the worlds most extensive hanging gardens.To begin to understand this place it is necessary to immerse yourself in its grandeur and moods, and exert yourself to grasp its breadth and scale.Zion is a vast and varied place as different as wet moss and brittle stone. Delicate wildflowers sprout from iron hard rock faces in canyons briefly touched by directly sunlight. Begging chipmunks and regal mountain lions share space with mule deer and wild turkeys. Light plays on cliff faces and is dappled through so many trees that you forget that this is supposed to be a desert. We offer three weekly expert tours through the stunning beauty of Zion National Park, available through reserved excursions.
- Fee applies. Ask your reservationist for details
- Lunch is provided for each person.
- Schedule is subject to National Park seasonal schedules.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
Hiking, Biking, Rock Climbing are just a few of the things you can do…all before noon.
offers a special Adventure Challenge hike to satisfy those who crave a little excitement along with the breathtaking scenery of our hikes. The Spa Adventure Challenge includes a Strenuous level hike, repelling & zip lining.
The Adventure Challenge is an excellent way to experience the best of our outdoor fitness program with a little twist of rock climbing and adventure in the mix.
Our guides are experienced in helping first-time Adventure Challenge participants and with the technique and style of climbing we employ, the chance of injury is very low. We invite you to experience what we consider to be an unforgettable adventure that you will be sure to tell your friends and family about for years.
Discover the Magic of Red Rock Country
Having specialized in hiking adventures for 20 years, offers one of the top hiking programs in the world, traversing one of the world’s most spectacular natural settings. Our daily morning hikes regularly consist of excursions to Snow Canyon, Padre Canyon, Silver Reef and many other magical areas within southern Utah’s famed red rock country.
March to Your Own Beat
hiking program offer two levels of group hiking on a daily basis for our guests. Those who desire a more challenging hike can upgrade to one of our Private Technical Hikes. All of our hikes are selected for their beauty, interest and accessibility. Our veteran guides have deep knowledge of the topography, flora, fauna, and natural history of the area, and take pride in making each hike a journey of exhilaration and discovery.
Trail Hike (Included in the All-inclusive Package)
The Trail Hike averages 3 miles and requires no technical skills. These hikes are conducted mostly on marked trails with some sand, rock, and at time uneven surfaces. The pace of these hikes for most would be one that allows for the enjoyment and appreciation of the desert and its wonders.
Fitness Hike (Included in the All-inclusive Package)
The Fitness Hike averages 5 miles. These hikes usually go at a faster pace when the terrain allows for it and will also at times encounter terrain that requires light technical skills. The climbs and descents will be longer than the trail hikes, and depending on the hike that day, one may also encounter periods of sand and loose rocks.
Private Hike / Technical Hike (Upgrade for $45 /hour for one guide, $65 /hour for 2 guides)*
We also offer private hikes for guests who prefer to hike at their own speed or spend more time taking in the beautiful deserts and canyons of southern Utah.
In the past we have also offered Technical Hikes as part of our regular daily group hikes. After much thought and years of experience conducting such hikes we have decided to stop offering this type of hiking in a group setting. Technical hiking offers unique challenges, hazards, and potential dangers that need to be carefully guided. Technical hiking is a skill that needs to be developed and learned, and not conductive for group hikes where we often encounter a wide range of abilities. We feel that the best place for this type of hiking is done in a private setting where the guide has the ability to guide a hike in the manner that best serves the client. Experienced technical hikers will be able to move and go places they would otherwise not be able to. Those learning will now not feel rushed, and have personalized attention from their guide while they hone and improve their skills. These will be offered as an upgrade to the regular daily hikes.
* Due to the variables and circumstantial nature of each request, the number of guides will be determined by contacting our hiking department.
Example hikes are courtesy of Eric Hansen, from his book “On and Off the Beaten Path”, copyright 2011. To purchase a copy of “On and Off the Beaten Path”
Many of Spa’s hikes take place by permit on BLM and Dixie National Forest land.
Spa New Hike Descriptions
offers hiking in some of the most beautiful and recognized parts of the southwest. Each hike promises breathtaking scenery as well as a hike specific to a variety of fitness levels. These hikes are famous with our past attendees and will quickly make you a devoted fan as well.
- Gunlock – sandstone valleys
- Sierra’s Peak – Red Cliff’s desert reserve
- Red Mountain – view point looking down into Snow Canyon
- Jarvis Peak – high-desert climbing
- Red Cliffs Desert Reserve – sandstone formations
- Molly’s Mountain – along the western edge of the Colorado Plateau
- The Labyrinth – a natural maze through 30-50′ canyon walls
Strenuous hikers know this area well but now we have a fitness version that allows others to visit this area. You will hike through sandstone valleys, up ravines, & across ridges with the space of the Great Basin Desert beckoning to the west.
This new strenuous hike is located in the Northern reaches of the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. It consists mostly of scrambling up higher & higher in sandstone to reach Sierra’s Peak. The view is incredible and the journey back down a bit hair raising.
This is a hike we discontinued and have now started doing again, but in a much different way. The hike starts in high-desert pinion & juniper and reveals an incredible viewpoint looking down into Snow Canyon. We then make our way across a sandstone valley & eventually loop back to our starting point.
This new strenuous hike climbs to one of the tallest points in the Beaver Dam Mountains. This range lies a few miles Southwest of St. George. You will be hiking in sparse high-desert vegetation – climbing, climbing, and then climbing some more. Your effort will be rewarded with A VIEW YOU WONT SOON FORGET.
Red Cliffs Desert Reserve
This new hike lies at the Northeast end of a 61,000 acre desert reserve. We hike both walkabout and fitness hikes in this area. You’ll be hiking through washes, ravines, & across sandstone formations. Throughout the hike Pine Valley Mountain, soaring to over 10,000 feet, is only a glance up.
This new strenuous hike is not as long, but what it lacks in distance it more than makes up for in incline. Located along the Western edge of the Colorado Plateau, the top offers great views of Zion National Park to the East and the entire Dixie Basin in every other direction.
This hike is designed to be a spiritual journey. After about 1/2 mile hike you will enter a natural labyrinth formed by rains running through 30-50 sandstone foot cliffs. Enjoy the high-desert pinion, juniper, & manzanita while making your way through this maze in silence.
We have also updated many of our other hikes & some remain as they always have. We hope you remember fondly hikes such as Padre Canyon, Petrified Dunes, White Rocks to Red Rocks, Valentines, Slots, Silver Reef, Santa Clara & Paradise Canyon.
Each day, you may choose from hikes that range in duration from one to four hours depending on your hiking ability.
Each hike during the week takes place on a different trail. A typical hike might have an elevation gain of 200 to 600 feet, with a pace of 2.5 to 4 mph, and cover approximately 5 to 7 miles. The more strenuous hikes may take up to four hours to complete with elevation
gains of up to 1,000 feet.
Whether you are here to leisurely enjoy the magnificent Southern Utah desert and redrock canyons, or want the challenge of climbing to the top of Zion National Park, we urge you to experience hiking in Southern Utah.