Yoga retreats are temporary breaks from the daily routine that typically last from the weekend to a week or more. The purpose of a retreat is to allow yogis to deepen their practice without the distractions of life. A yoga retreat is an amazing opportunity to meet others who are passionate about yoga.

Yoga and hiking retreat is a combination of yoga and physical activity outdoors. A retreat starts and ends on a certain date, which means that you will be with the same group of people every day. You go to the same classes, have meals together, and spend a day outdoors hiking together. This gives you the opportunity to actually get to know them and develop a friendship. Yoga and hiking retreat is not just another vacation, it is a powerful experience.

A yoga retreat will help you:

  • disconnect and reflect,
  • deepen your yoga practice and knowledge,
  • step outside of your comfort zone,
  • improve your health.

If you are a beginner or not so passionate about yoga, a yoga and hiking retreat will offer you the opportunity to start with regular practice and find out how yoga can help you find balance in your everyday life.

Why hiking and yoga?

"Going back to nature is going back to the origin of life, to the origins of ourselves." This is what the philosopher Henry David Thoreau said about connecting to your inner self. There is plenty of time for self-reflection during the long hours of walking. We will encounter quite some obstacles, being far away from home and out of our comfort zone. But we might also realize what truly matters to us in our lives and what the purpose of our lives may be.

The question "Who am I?" is the ultimate question in yoga philosophy. This is exactly why connecting with nature and practicing yoga simultaneously form a perfect combination. Both will help you learn about your true self. The yoga and hiking retreat is a simple way to reconnect with your inner self and understand yourself better.

Read more about our yoga and hiking retreats in Norway and Alaska.

Hiking versus walking the Camino de Santiago

Walking the Camino de Santiago has been and still is on a bucket list for many people. Yoga and hiking retreat is like walking the Camino but it is a softer version of the Camino way. You know where you are going to sleep every night and you always have wi-fi when you need it. You will also prepare your body for a long day outdoors with morning yoga sessions, stretch and relax your tired muscles every evening and eat healthy and nutritious food during the journey.

However, yoga and hiking will give you many of the Camino walk benefits. Additionally, spending days in the fresh air will prevent you from becoming infected with viruses and will strengthen your immune system.

Top 3 reasons why people walk the Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago, known in English as the way of St. James, is a network of pilgrims' ways or pilgrimages leading to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great in the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in Spain.

Spiritual reasons

Many pilgrims walk to connect and discover the deeper meaning of life, to spiritually connect with nature or themselves, or walk to find answers to deep questions.

Disconnect to reconnect

In a world of busyness with too many obligations and long workdays, many of us have become disconnected and disillusioned. We all say we would like to disconnect a bit but typical vacations are anything but answering e-mails at the pool and watching or reading the news after dinner, we seem never to have the opportunity to truly "get away from it all". At first, it may seem strange to not constantly think about what is going on in your country or not check your phone every 15 minutes but soon you find peace and silence in the journey. It takes a few days to adjust but the reward is clarity and a feeling of peace.

Exercise and well-being

The majority of people have little to no experience in walking long distances over many days. A popular saying is "your Camino begins when you sign up". You begin to research what shoes to bring, how to train and prepare your body, and what you should pack. Many people start training, to become healthier and more fit for the trip.

"There is no bad weather, only bad clothing" - Swedish and Norwegian proverb

Here I will share some tips on how to choose good hiking clothes to keep you warm, dry, and happy during your adventures in Norway or Alaska. I will not recommend any specific brands because in different regions you can find similar products from different manufacturers.

Check out our yoga and hiking retreats in Norway and Alaska.

Hiking clothing - layers, zippers, and pockets

When I moved to Norway in 2013, I started hiking in my jeans, aerobic leggings and top, running shoes, and a light jacket. Although Norwegians thought it was strange (jeans are especially despised), I was not disturbed by it. My hikes were usually short and close to home. With time my hikes became longer and more complicated and I started to buy special hiking equipment. I discovered that the little improvements really made a difference! For example, my backpacks got bigger but lighter and I replaced all my pants and jackets with ones that have ventilation zippers.

You start to notice the importance of clothing when you hike for several days in a row, your hike lasts for the whole day, or the weather changes suddenly. When you hike uphill you always get hot and sweaty. The contrast becomes clear when you reach the top of the mountain which is usually windy and cool. If you want to sit down to eat, relax and enjoy the view, you instantly feel the cold creeping in. On the way down your legs are already tired so you must take extra care not to stumble and fall. That means hiking at a slow pace with sweaty clothes and rubbing shoes. Suddenly you may find that hiking is not so enjoyable anymore. Fortunately, all this is avoidable when you take advice from experienced hikers.

The most important thing about hiking clothes is layering. This tried-and-true strategy helps you to regulate temperature by slipping layers on and off as your activity level or the weather changes. You may not want to wear a lot of layers at the start of your hike but it’s a good idea to take them with you on every outing - you can peel off layers when you get hot but you can’t put on layers that you didn’t bring along.

The base layer should wick sweat off your skin

I am not going to talk about underwear which should be comfortable every day, not only when hiking. But I want to talk about T-shirts. Wool is very popular in Norway: summer wool, merino wool, smart wool, old fashion wool, etc. If I'm honest, I don't go along with fashion trends easily, but buying myself a light, summer merino wool T-shirt was a very good idea.

When hiking with a backpack, your shirt must have sleeves. It is very uncomfortable to feel the backpack strap under a sweaty armpit on a warm summer day. A cotton T-shirt is not the best choice because it dries slowly. I recommend light wool or synthetic T-shirt for warm weather or a long-sleeved shirt for cooler weather. Choose materials that insulate, wick moisture, and dry quickly.

The same goes for socks. A hiking sock is crucial to prevent blisters. A hiking sock, unlike a cotton sock, provides significant protection against rubbing that your boot might cause. Low-cut socks are not a good choice for hiking, choose crew socks instead.

Middle layer should insulate

Of course, it all depends on the weather but you should always have a long-sleeved sweater or a fleece in your bag. I love fleece hoodies because I always forget my hat at home and they help to keep my head warm. I prefer light hoodies that breathe well. Pullover hoodies might be difficult to put on, so I prefer ones that have zippers.

Down insulated jackets are my favorites because they are highly compressible and easy to pack in your bag, also down offers more warmth for its weight than any other insulating material.

Outer layer should shield you from rain and wind

The outer layer (or shell layer) protects you from wind, rain, and snow. Shells range from pricey mountaineering jackets to simple wind-resistant jackets. Most allow at least some perspiration to escape; virtually all are treated with a durable water repellent finish to make water bead up and roll off the fabric.

Your outer shell is an important piece in stormy weather because if wind and water are allowed to penetrate to inner layers, you can get really cold. Pit zips under the armpit are again important. The ideal would be lightweight, wind, and waterproof material but usually, if you want significant protection against the rain and wind then you might need to make a trade-off on weight.

Hiking pants

I think I would love hiking pants that can be turned into shorts by unzipping the long pant legs. Unfortunately, I do not have them yet. But I have several breathable, windproof hiking pants with ventilation zippers and I really love them. It is important for me that they also have pockets with zippers - the more the better. Otherwise, my keys, phone, and other things would disappear fast. The material of hiking pants is also crucial. Your pants should be lightweight, soft, stretchy, and windproof. I also have a pair for heavy rain. It is important that you do not have to take your boots off when you pull on your rain pants. That means a zipper on the side of the pants.

Hiking boots or shoes

One of the most important things you wear on the trail is shoes. Low-cut models with flexible midsoles are excellent for hiking on a warm summer day. I prefer lightweight, flexible, mid or high-cut hiking boots with a good grip. My boots are not 100% waterproof but they are water-resistant. Always wear your new shoes at home or on short hikes before going out on longer hikes. After hiking removes the insoles of the shoes and cleans them properly. Remember to also reapply for a DWR treatment every once in a while.  

Yesterday we celebrated the World Mental Health Day with a small hike (6 hours) to Åbittinden.

Åbittinden rises with his 1396 meters above sea level and is located in the middle between Trolltind (1347 m.a.s.l.) and Blåfjellet (1192 m.a.s.l.). Driving from Molde (where we live) to the starting point of the hike takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

The peak is less known than the neighboring peak Trolltind and is not much visited. There is not even a decent trail to the top, not to mention directional signs. We found our way and reached the top after 3,5-hour of walking, hiking, and climbing. The weather was beautiful and warm and the view amazing.

All those long hours I spend climbing to the top of those mountains, I practice yoga in different ways. The sixth limb of yoga is concentration. You have to be 100 % present and focused during your climbing. The trail is often steep and some of those stones move under your feet. The fourth limb of yoga is pranayama, the breath control. I would lie if I said I was never afraid. I am afraid of heights and climbing steep cliffs, but then I practice my yogic breathing and pranayama. Meditation is the seventh limb of yoga, conscious management of thoughts. Being here and now.

Maybe you have heard about "Forest bathing"? It is the practice of spending time in the forest to promote physical and emotional health, very popular in Japan right now.  And there is a reason why. When we are outside in nature, we experience ourselves, the world around us and feel there is something greater than us. We feel more connected to ourselves and others. Maybe we should start using a new trendy term here in Norway "Mountain Bathing"?

Research tells us that spending time in nature alleviates stress, anxiety, depression, while it boosts creativity and sharpens focus. Next time you take a hike, try deepening your experience, making it a meditation.

Romsdalseggen ridge is one of the world’s most scenic hikes (Lonely Planet 2011).This hike through the dramatic landscape features many highlights.From the ridge, you can see the majestic Trollveggen cliff, surrounded by a number of well-known mountains. Romsdalseggen ridge is one of the most spectacular backdrops in the world, not far from the mountaineering capital Åndalsnes.

The ascent from here is hard going and steep, but the view that awaits you at the top is well worth the effort! From the ridge, you look directly at the legendary Trollveggen cliff, Europe’s highest perpendicular rock face – crowned by rugged mountains. To the southeast, you can see the Dalsida landscape protection area, which extends all the way to the Dovrefjell and Sunndalsfjella mountains, with the highest peak Snøhetta.

The mountains Romsdalshorn and Store Venjetind tower like spires into the sky. It is not hard to understand why this sea of jagged peaks, ridges and wild precipices has drawn mountaineers to the area for centuries. To the southwest, you can see Reinheimen National Park and the well-known mountains Bispen, Kongen and Dronninga. From Romsdalseggen ridge, you also get a view of Romsdalen valley, with the Rauma river winding its way through the lush landscape out to the fjord and Åndalsnes.

Litlefjellet is a short, easy hike and one of the most accessible natural viewpoints in the area. It is an excellent vantage point from which to admire Trollveggen (the Troll Wall). With a sheer one kilometer precipice and its collection of jagged peaks, the wall is one of the most famous sights in Norway.

Reaching 780 metres above sea level, Litlefjellet (Little Mountain) sits directly across the valley from the wall. Litlefjellet also gets you up close to Romsdalshornet, a distinctive peak popular with mountain climbers.

Yoga here is pure magic! Grateful for the day and yoginis who joined us!

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