Proper planning and preparation can reduce risk and improve the experience when you adventure.
Why do I practice Yoga? Because it prepares me for everything else I do. Sure, the poses are challenging and moving my body in ways that compliment my habitual posturing helps to relieve pain and discomfort, but ultimately, the benefits of Yoga are most noticeable when I am playing.
Stretch, Warm Up, Recover
There are many reasons to visit Lake Tahoe. The views are incredible, the mountains are amazing, the lake will steal your heart. And, there is a whole lot of outdoor fun to be had. Many people come to Tahoe to play. Mountain bikers can’t wait to get out on the dirt and improve their skills. Skiers wait for the perfect powder or bluebird day to make turns. We can golf, hike, paddle, trail run, cross country ski, I could go on and on.
When was the last time you stretched before you started skiing? How often do you warm up before a mountain bike ride? Did you take fifteen minutes to properly prepare your body for a hike? Most of us don’t and that’s where Yoga comes in. Even if you only join a couple of classes a week, it can help you to retain mobility and feel limber when you go out to bike, hike, run or play. Engaging in practices before and after your other activities help your body to prepare and recover. The movements we do during a Yoga asana practice are designed to keep your joints mobile and your muscles long.
Whether you are heading out for a leisurely hike or training for your next marathon it is important to consider more than your physical health when you are preparing to play. Sure, your body needs to be strong and mobile, but a clear and calm mind can be the difference between failing gracefully or becoming a disgrace. Have you ever noticed how you breathe while you’re skiing or rock climbing? It may be particularly evident when you’re visiting Lake Tahoe. At the lake you are standing at 6200 feet above sea level, that’s over a mile up. Climb a hill or ride the ski lift and the quantity of oxygen available decreases. Breathing slowly, deeply and calmly will help you to maintain focus.
Did you know that there are specific breathing techniques you can do to prepare your body for physical effort? Over time, many Yogic breathing techniques have been modified and renamed to help people feel more comfortable trying them. They have continued to be utilized for thousands of years because they work. Before you begin an activity or if you feel stressed or fearful while in it, your breath can help you to return to a state of calm. A simple two-part breath that allows you to completely fill and empty, slowly, will calm your nervous system, help you focus your thoughts, reduce anxiety and help you to return to a more calm state of being.
Mindset is everything. The thoughts you have about and during an activity can effect the experience you have. Practices that help us to focus upon the positive, when done regularly, can shift your perspective over time. If your day includes something that is going to challenge you in some way, perhaps because you will be engaging with crowds of people, trying something new or leveling up your skills, a positive mindset is incredibly important. A tool that can help you to establish a positive mindset is a journal. Making daily notes about the good stuff and re-reading what you’ve written will help you to keep these thoughts fresh in your mind. With these thoughts on the top of your mind, you’ll become better at seeing the “silver lining” when you feel challenged.
If you’d like to learn more about the practice of Yoga, breathwork, mindfulness and how these tools can help you to prepare for and recover from your play visit Bliss Experiences. Beyond traditional Yoga practices, sessions include healing sound, reiki and forest bathing and more. Beginning while you’re on vacation could help you to establish new practices that will prepare you for your next trip to Lake Tahoe.
Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t take hundreds of dollars per month and three hours every day to get into shape. It is possible to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle, even if your budget is bare and you barely have time to breathe. These activities will fit into your schedule without purging your pocket.
Park entrance fees aside, hiking is an activity you can enjoy with friends and family for free. And even more than simply getting in shape, hiking will help you get in touch with nature, which studies have shown can have a positive impact on your mood. The Healthy Living section of Huff Post reports that hikers are among the fittest people out there and enjoy lower blood pressure and longer attention spans than the rest of us. Hiking on dirt trails is also easier on the joints than pounding the pavement.
There’s no denying that running is good for the heart. Even a short five or 10 minutes jog each day can drastically lower your chances of dying from cardiovascular disease. Fitness further reports that running triggers a chemical in the brain that produces euphoria and burns an astounding 12.2 cal per minute. Another significant benefit of running is that you don’t have to have any special equipment, just a pair of practical running shoes and a desire to strengthen your core, legs, heart, and lungs.
Like hiking, yoga provides a boost for both mind and body. It’s also one of the easiest ways to put yourself in a relaxed mindful state. Yoga and guided focus are used nationwide as alternative therapy in addiction recovery to help people overcome both physical, mental, and emotional burdens. DrugRehab.org explains, “This is because these activities allow you to focus your mind and can relieve stress and anxiety, both of which are triggers for relapse in many individuals who are in recovery.
Trampolines aren’t just for kids, although bouncing for half an hour with your children is an excellent way to burn calories while toning and tightening every muscle in the body. If you don’t have kids or the room in your yard for a recreational trampoline, a small fitness trampoline will get the job done. Not only is jumping on a trampoline fun, but this specific motion encourages your lymphatic system to rid itself of waste. Jumping also improves coordination and balance and is a relatively low impact form of cardiovascular exercise.
Take extra steps
How many steps in a 24 hour day does it take to meet general fitness guidelines? According to Fitbit: 10,000. That’s just enough strides to equal five miles…When you think of it that way, it’s an impressive feat for your feet. While it can be hard to figure out exactly how to get that many steps in on an average day, it’s possible if you look for opportunities. Here are a few ideas: park as far away as possible at the grocery store. Make two trips instead of one to the laundry room for each load. Walk to the mailbox instead of stopping on your way into the driveway,
Whether you’re hiking, jogging, jumping or sneaking in a little yoga under the stars, keeping your body in motion is paramount to a healthy body and mind. Dr. Edward R. Laskowski of the Mayo Clinic says just 30 minutes of physical activity each day will go a long way toward improving your health. And, when you break it up into short burst of activity, there’s no excuses for not getting off the couch or away from your computer.