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Exercising body and mind

Hiking and yoga

Combining hiking and yoga is quickly becoming a new trend. Allgäu mountain guide Stefan Neuhauser, who specialises in tours through the Provence and Piemont regions, and yoga teacher Tine Noble have been organising such events outside of mainstream tourism for almost 20 years now. Their tours lead them mostly to the lonely mountain regions south of the Alps. 

Stefan Neuhauser
By Stefan Neuhauser

With a combination of hiking through unspoiled natural environments, yoga sessions, good local cuisine and traditional accommodations, these tours become real adventures – while also improving the well-being of everyone involved. Below, Stefan tells us how this unique concept came about.

The original idea behind combining yoga and hiking

Yoga hiking might have become a trend only recently, but we’ve noticed the potential a long time ago. I met Tine on a hiking trip across Corsica in 2007. She was one of the participants in the trip and as a passionate yoga teacher, she immediately fell in love with the magical places we visited along the route. This gave rise to the idea of organising two or three hiking trips a year together, with a focus on traversing remote areas and leading participants to all the special little places we knew.

Usually, these trips take place in spring or fall – out of season – along the south side of the Alps. Taking a swim in the lakes and mountain streams along the way or doing yoga in suitable areas is what makes these trips even more special. Naturally, participants have these opportunities both during our trips and in the morning before setting off.

Who’s up for an adventure?

Spending a week in a luxury hotel taking long walks and practicing yoga is an amazing way to relax body and soul – but our approach is a little more unique and more focussed on experiencing the natural world to its fullest. We want to give a voice to mother nature and take the time to experience and enjoy the remote, unspoiled places of our world. These tours also feature simple, yet very authentic and comfortable accommodations, as well as plenty of local “slow food”.

Likewise, the places we visit aren’t artificially set up to be perfect for yoga. Rather, their natural shapes make them inspiring to both yoga and hiking enthusiasts. I still remember the feeling of practicing yoga in the Cevennes, surrounded by the chirping of birds and the humming of insects – as if nature itself was singing to us. I felt as if I was experiencing the natural world on many different levels at once, a feeling which I’ve not had since.

Likewise, practicing yoga deep underground in cool and quiet karst caves illuminated by sparse candlelight offers the perfect setting to experience otherworldly feelings of seclusion and security in the belly of the limestone rock.

The best of both worlds – a unique feeling of harmony

Two worlds collide when we set off on our week of hiking and yoga, reinforcing each other in the process. Naturally, either world can easily exist without the other. I can practice yoga at home or in a yoga studio, I can go hiking either alone or with other people. Either option makes me feel good. But the feeling of combining both of these activities is utterly unique and even better for body and soul.

Practicing yoga in places of power increases your mindfulness, it relaxes you and it sharpens your senses. Heaven and earth finally meet: Breathe, gather your energies! Looking into the distance, it’s remarkably easy to banish the troubles of your everyday life from your mind and experience the uniqueness of your own self. This allows you to truly gain an understanding of yourself as part of nature.

Step by step, we open our eyes to the inner and the outer world, experience ourselves in stillness as in movement, find our own rhythm and enter into a silent dialogue. We open up a space for serenity in our lives and gain strength for the challenges of life. Perhaps, we allow ourselves to turn dreams into visions.

Personal, energetic and communal – How hiking and yoga become one

With our small group sizes, we offer a space for close personal exchanges and unique experiences. In the past, many a spirited laugh has managed to awaken the life energies of even the most reserved participants of our tours – so come along with us on a unique journey that will invigorate your body and soul!

You can find Stefan Neuhauser’s mountain hiking & yoga tours here.