12 Stretches for Mountaineering

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If you hike mountains, each day is leg day. Whereas trekking in Patagonia, I generally questioned if my legs would ever not really feel sore once more. Mountaineering makes use of your gluteal muscle tissues, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, and requires sturdiness of all of the joints—ankles, ft, hips, and knees. Carrying a pack can create stress in your neck and utilizing mountain climbing poles may cause your arms to change into sore.

Because it seems, focused stretching earlier than and after every hike can forestall harm and help in restoration. A latest survey of research printed in Wilderness Environmental Medicine Journal confirmed that yoga and stretching have been related to much less harm for hikers.

After every day of 15-mile hikes in Patagonia, I returned to EcoCamp and practiced yoga within the Yoga Dome. Every day yoga gave my physique the chance to get better with extra ease and beauty, rehydrating my muscle tissues and liberating the lactic acid build-up. The next day’s hikes have been met with much less resistance in my joints and extra intention in every step. So do that sequence after (or earlier than, or ideally each!) your subsequent hike. You’ll be impressed at how a lot quicker you’ll get better from these lengthy miles of uphill climbs.

Woman with dark braid practices yoga--Balasana (Child’s Pose with bent forearms)-- in a YogaDome, a geodesic dome in Patagonia. She is wearing peach colored tights and a light colored sports bra, and practices on a magenta colored mat. The room has wood floors and you can see crocheted covers on the triangular shaped windows. A view of the sky can be seen through the windows.
(Photograph: Courtesy of Ingrid Yang)

Balasana (Little one’s Pose) with bent forearms

After miles on the paths, your total physique can really feel tense and achy. Beginning your post-hike apply in Little one’s Pose invitations leisure into your nervous system and musculature. You may as well open up your chest by propping your elbows and brow on blocks, bending your elbows, and inserting your fingertips in your shoulders. This additionally provides a stretch for the triceps, which might change into sore from utilizing mountain climbing poles.

Woman with dark braid practices Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) in a YogaDome, a geodesic dome in Patagonia. She is wearing peach colored tights and a light colored sports bra, and practices on a magenta colored mat. The room has wood floors and you can see crocheted covers on the triangular shaped windows. A view of the sky can be seen through the windows.
(Photograph: Courtesy of Ingrid Yang)

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Dealing with Canine Pose)

After a day of mountain climbing, particularly in case you have been carrying an enormous pack, some spinal decompression could be significantly appreciated, and this may be achieved by any form of inversion, together with Downward-Dealing with Canine. It’s a reasonably accessible inversion that gives gravity-driven lengthening to your backbone. It additionally stretches your wrists and calves. In case your calves really feel notably sore from going up and down the mountain, roll a blanket and place it below your heels for some further assist.

Woman with dark braid practices Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with neck stretches in a YogaDome, a geodesic dome in Patagonia. She is wearing peach colored tights and a light colored sports bra, and practices on a magenta colored mat. The room has wood floors and you can see crocheted covers on the triangular shaped windows. A view of the sky can be seen through the windows.
(Photograph: Courtesy of Ingrid Yang)

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with neck stretches

When mountain climbing, we frequently stare downward on the path, which will increase pressure on the muscle tissues that maintain our head upright. Shifting your cervical backbone gently in each route, in addition to providing some traction may also help ease any ongoing neck ache. Kneel on the mat and sit again in your heels, together with your shins on the bottom and knees hip width aside. (Place a block below your hips in the event you really feel discomfort in your hips, knees or ankles). Sit tall and provide your self some neck stretches.

Woman with dark braid practices Marjaryasana/Bitilasana (Cat/Cow Pose) in a YogaDome, a geodesic dome in Patagonia. She is wearing peach colored tights and a light colored sports bra, and practices on a magenta colored mat. The room has wood floors and you can see crocheted covers on the triangular shaped windows. A view of the sky can be seen through the windows.
(Photograph: Courtesy of Ingrid Yang)

Marjaryasana/Bitilasana (Cat/Cow Pose)

Cat/Cow is one in every of my favourite poses that will help you get again in contact with the integrity of your backbone and to thoughtfully reconnect together with your breath. The protraction and retraction of the shoulder blades also can ease soreness from carrying a backpack.The rhythmic movement of this pose helps to softly loosen tight muscle tissues alongside all the backbone and open house at the back of your shoulders.

Woman with dark braid practices Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge) in a YogaDome, a geodesic dome in Patagonia. She is wearing peach colored tights and a light colored sports bra, and practices on a magenta colored mat. The room has wood floors and you can see crocheted covers on the triangular shaped windows. A view of the sky can be seen through the windows.
(Photograph: Courtesy of Ingrid Yang)

Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)

The hip flexors work onerous whilst you’re mountain climbing, serving to you elevate your leg with every step ahead. Tight hip flexors can lower your stride size and trigger your gluteus muscle tissues to overwork, so that you need to maintain them as versatile and fluid as attainable. Anjaneyasana is a good pose to alleviate tightness and produce stability in the back and front of your hips. So as to add some chest opening, elevate a climbing pole above your head and attain your arms again barely behind your ears.

Woman with dark braid practices Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge) with quadricep stretch in a YogaDome, a geodesic dome in Patagonia. She is wearing peach colored tights and a light colored sports bra, and practices on a magenta colored mat. The room has wood floors and you can see crocheted covers on the triangular shaped windows. A view of the sky can be seen through the windows.
(Photograph: Courtesy of Ingrid Yang)

Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge) with quadricep stretch

Anybody who has hiked a mountain is aware of how a lot of a toll that takes on the quadriceps. This model of Anjaneyasana is a staple stretch for all hikers, and but one we frequently neglect. Carry your foot nearer to your buttocks for a deeper stretch, or away out of your buttocks for extra concentrate on the hip flexor. Place a blanket below your knee for added assist. Reaching again to know your foot additionally offers an extra stretch for the chest and entrance shoulder.

Woman with dark braid practices Ardha Hanumanasana (Half Splits) in a YogaDome, a geodesic dome in Patagonia. She is wearing peach colored tights and a light colored sports bra, and practices on a magenta colored mat. The room has wood floors and you can see crocheted covers on the triangular shaped windows. A view of the sky can be seen through the windows.
(Photograph: Courtesy of Ingrid Yang)

Ardha Hanumanasana (Half Splits)

Your hamstrings work along side the quadriceps to bend your knees whilst you stroll, they usually’re particularly vital if you end up climbing. Hamstring well being is integral to mountain climbing as a result of they’ve to elongate significantly when the knee extends and the hip flexes because the foot contacts the bottom. When you have tight hamstrings, your knee gained’t prolong correctly which is able to impression your gait, typically inflicting knee, hip or again ache. Working towards half splits is an effective way to entry hamstring opening, whereas additionally controlling how deeply you stretch. Place blocks below your palms if you like extra again and gluteal lengthening. For an extra stretch to your shin muscle tissues, press the only of your entrance foot towards the bottom.

Woman with dark braid practices Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I Pose) with hands in reverse prayer in a YogaDome, a geodesic dome in Patagonia. She is wearing peach colored tights and a light colored sports bra, and practices on a magenta colored mat. The room has wood floors and you can see crocheted covers on the triangular shaped windows. A view of the sky can be seen through the windows.
(Photograph: Courtesy of Ingrid Yang)

Virabhadrasana I (Warrior I Pose) with palms in reverse prayer

Warrior I is commonly regarded as a strengthening pose for the hips and legs, and it’s. Nevertheless, the positioning of the again leg additionally offers a stretch for the hip flexor, hamstring, and calf muscle tissues. For rather less work in your entrance leg again out of the knee bend a bit. (It’s true, your entrance thigh doesn’t must be parallel to the bottom on a regular basis, particularly in case your legs are drained from mountain climbing!) A pleasant add-on to this pose is to carry your palms into reverse prayer or fist-to-fist. This offers a stretch to your shoulders and chest.

Woman with dark braid practices Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose) in a YogaDome, a geodesic dome in Patagonia. She is wearing peach colored tights and a light colored sports bra, and practices on a magenta colored mat. The room has wood floors and you can see crocheted covers on the triangular shaped windows. A view of the sky can be seen through the windows.
(Photograph: Courtesy of Ingrid Yang)

Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana (Pigeon Pose)

Let’s speak buttock muscle tissues: Our glutes do a number of work for us day in and day trip–and they’re actually constructed to assist get hikers uphill. Once we issue within the drive of gravity and a heavy backpack, this significantly will increase the work on the gluteus muscle tissues and quadriceps compared to strolling on a flat floor. To counter that workload, Pigeon is a good posture to stretch your buttocks muscle tissues. To supply an extra stretch of your quadriceps in your again leg, bend your knee and draw your heel towards your glutes.

Woman with dark braid practices Ardha Matsyendrasana (Lord of the Fishes) in a YogaDome, a geodesic dome in Patagonia. She is wearing peach colored tights and a light colored sports bra, and practices on a magenta colored mat. The room has wood floors and you can see crocheted covers on the triangular shaped windows. A view of the sky can be seen through the windows.
(Photograph: Courtesy of Ingrid Yang)

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes)

Hikers generally have tight IT bands, and this rigidity can typically manifest as lateral knee ache–ache on the surface of the knee. If the gluteus muscle tissues are too tight, (see Pigeon above), this will trigger the IT bands to change into even tighter. Half Lord of the Fishes pose is a pleasant solution to relieve tightness within the IT band, whereas additionally offering a chest opening spinal twist.

Woman with dark braid practices Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow-Face) armsyoga in a YogaDome, a geodesic dome in Patagonia. She is wearing peach colored tights and a light colored sports bra, and practices on a magenta colored mat. The room has wood floors and you can see crocheted covers on the triangular shaped windows. A view of the sky can be seen through the windows.
(Photograph: Courtesy of Ingrid Yang)

Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) with Gomukhasana (Cow-Face) arms

When you hike quick, your ankles could also be in a perpetually dorsi-flexed place. This could trigger tightness in your tibialis anterior (your shin muscle tissues), which might additionally trigger ankle instability. Stretching the fronts of the decrease legs won’t solely enable you to keep on the paths with a more healthy stride, nevertheless it additionally feels so good. If this pose feels too intense in your knees or ankles (see neck stretches above), sit on a block for assist. Additionally, a pleasant add-on, which stretches your triceps and forearms, is to carry your arms into Gomukhasana, utilizing your mountain climbing poles as a substitute of a strap to assist your palms attain one another.

fWoman with dark braid practices yogiv breathing exercises in a YogaDome, a geodesic dome in Patagonia. She is wearing peach colored tights and a light colored sports bra, and practices on a magenta colored mat. The room has wood floors and you can see crocheted covers on the triangular shaped windows. A view of the sky can be seen through the windows.
(Photograph: Courtesy of Ingrid Yang)

Respiration workouts

Once we hike, we are sometimes so busy taking within the surroundings or watching our step that we frequently neglect to breathe within the lovely forest or mountain air. Take a second to apply some breathwork to remind your self to remain absolutely open, current, and awake to all you’ve achieved, and all that’s to come back.


Our mannequin, Javiera Figueroa, is a yoga instructor from Santiago, Chile. She is the resident yoga instructor at EcoCamp, which provides three yoga courses a day at a lodge in Chilean Patagonia. Skilled in Costa Rica, Javiera focuses on instructing individuals to take heed to themselves by way of motion, respiratory and mindfulness. Comply with Javiera’s adventures on Instagram @Javinyasayoga.

Ingrid Yang, MD is a daily contributor to Yoga Journal.  She is an inside medication doctor, yoga therapist, and writer of Adaptive Yoga and Hatha Yoga Asanas. Dr. Yang has been instructing yoga for greater than 20 years and leads trainings and retreats all around the world, with a particular concentrate on kinesthetic physiology and therapeutic by way of breathwork, meditation and mind-body connection. Discover out extra at www.ingridyang.com or on Instagram.