Yoga Poses for Achy Legs from Hiking
We love to hike here at AY…
Exploring the world and being in some of the most awe inspiring places, from the French alps, pilgrimages in Greece and Sri Lanka and closer to home in Wales and the Lake District. The landscape never ceases to amaze me and I feel so blessed and grateful for the wonders of nature all around, and how small we humans really are!
In Sri Lanka this winter on our yoga holiday, me and my husband hiked up a mountain called Adam’s Peak, once the yoga holiday had finished. It was an amazing experience and highly recommended. It is called Adams Peak because, to Christians, it was where Adam put his first foot on the earth after he was thrown out of heaven. But it means something to all religions; to Hindu it represents Shiva, and to Buddhists, which are most of the population of Sri Lanka, it is told that Buddha came here twice to meditate when he first arrived in Sri Lanka. Thus this mountain has become a pilgrimage for many.
Hiking Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka
We set off to walk this moving pilgrimage on proya day, which we learnt is full moon and a holiday/sacred day. We were warned there would be lots of people joining us on the trail. There are over 5,000 steps with a lit path. There are tea shops with snacks along the way to rest and stay warm, as the temperature drops a lot, as you do the hike over night! We started at 1am and came home at 10am. A first for me staying awake over night and walking for 8 hours too!
We made it to the top for 4.30am, taking tea stops along the way and meeting and connecting with beautiful Sri Lankans and hearing their stories. We were waiting for the sunrise, with thousands of others, and the buddhist monks who were there ready to pay homage to Buddha on the morning of proya day at their temple at the very top of the peak. It really was an amazing sight to see, the dedication and determination of all ages, from 7 year olds to 80 somethings, being supported by their families to make this pilgrimage.
The hike was fun, hard, inspiring, educating, beautiful, tiring, painful…all these words describe it so perfectly! Even after having practiced yoga twice a day for 10 days my legs were not prepared for this, and it wasn’t so much walking up steps up hill, but the coming down that hurt the most, in my knees and thighs. After coming down at 10am and getting a foot massage to soothe our broken feet, we travelled to our next hotel to rest for a couple of days. Here is when the aftermath of the walk became clear, I couldn’t walk! My thighs were jelly, I understood when people said their legs were jelly after a marathon, it felt like that!
So began my yoga practice, to help release tension and stretch out achy muscles and bring the blood flow back into the damaged tissue.
Virabhadrasana II: After warming up with some sun salutations, I began my practice with some standing postures, as my hips felt really tight. By aligning knee with foot at the front of the body and tucking the tail bone I felt a really lovely stretch down the front of my thighs and in my hip flexors from all that stair walking motion.
Trikonasana: Straightening out the front leg, keeping thighs engaged, tucking tail bone, engaging through the bandhas (pelvic floor muscles) and opening the chest to the sky, this felt amazing! Opening the front of the body, the waist, the hips, the hip flexors and thighs.
Parighasana/Gate Pose: Side stretching feels so good! Giving space to the intercostal muscles and by tucking the tail bone, engaging through the core and then side bending after stretching the left arm up. Keeping the shoulder blade down away from the ears, you can even feel this stretch in your deep back stabilising muscles (Quadratus Lamborum) and also your hip flexors (Psoas). Enjoy feeling longer in your torso.
Low Lunge / Anjaneyasana: With a foot grab for extra stretch of the quadriceps and hip flexors. Really feel the quad muscles elongate after an 8 hour contraction, they will really enjoy this! Holding the foot helps open the chest too.
Ardha Hanumanasana/Half Monkey pose: This pose is the precursor to full splits or hanumanasana. After a hike, it feels good to stretch out the back of the legs too!
Chakrasana/Wheel pose: After opening up the front of the body and hips and side bends to warm and loosen the spine. The full wheel pose feels delicious to give the whole front of the body a nice stretch.
We love to hike here at AdventureYogi, exploring the world and being in some of the most awe inspiring places, from the French alps in summers, pilgrimages in Santorini Greece and Adams Peak in Sri Lanka and closer to home in Wales and the Lake District. Come and join us on one – just check our calendar page and find out when and where we are going.