When it comes to the outdoors, I have always been somewhat of an addict. Any chance to be in the fresh air, especially when the sun is shining, is an opportunity I jump at. So when QU’s fitness center announced a Hike to Yoga class, it seemed right up my alley.
About 15 of us met in the parking lot of Sleeping Giant State Park toward the end of a beautiful afternoon. With yoga mats, towels and blankets strapped to our backs, we began the trek up the Orange Trail leading to the castle.
I had hiked the mountain many times, but this hike was particularly calming and relaxing, a refreshing quality in a workout. Everyone in our group spent the 1.6 miles talking about anything and everything.
The process of reaching a destination can sometimes be boring and dragging, but between all of the new people I spoke with and the sights of families, pets and nature, there was never a dull moment.
At the top, we took a moment to take in the trees and hills, as well as the Long Island Sound in the distance. Then Tami Reilly, the associate director of fitness and instructor of Hike to Yoga, had us find a place in the grass to begin yoga.
While talking us through different poses –Warriors, Sun Salutations, and, the especially fitting, Tree and Mountain poses – Reilly not only effectively stretched and worked my muscles, but also my mind. She encouraged us to feel gratitude for all aspects of the day and take the time to enjoy the moment.
Despite a chilly breeze, the occasional laughter of children pointing at us, and a father sagely informing his daughter about the time he dated a girl who did yoga, by the end of the workout many of us were relaxed to the point of sleeping, and there was a contented energy among the group.
“I thought it was a really great experience. It was nice to take some time out of my day and de-stress,” Sarah Anscher, a fifth-year physical therapy major said on the way back down the mountain.
The chance to get away from school for a few hours was much needed for everyone, providing an opportunity to free our minds.
“I loved the event and I thought Tami led a great yoga class,” said junior Liv Miko, a nursing major. “I think that having it outside helps you get in touch with yourself and with the world.”
After such a soothing adventure, it was sad heading back toward campus, work and the world of responsibility. I have consoled myself with the fact that Reilly will soon be leading another class aimed at easing the pressures of finals week.