BLOG: Yoga for the Door County Vacationer

IMG_8217_2
One of my favorite things to do when my family rented condos on the lakeside was to go for runs up and down the beach of Lake Michigan. The sand between my toes felt exhilarating and the extra effort needed to run in the sand meant the stretch up and down the beach was the perfect distance for a quick morning or evening work out. After, I would stand at the edge of the water and look out into the bay. Raising my arms up into mountain pose taking it all in, then releasing down to Uttanasana (or forward fold) to roll through a few sun salutations lake-side. It cooled me off from the exercise and allowed me to capture the energy from my run and soak up the peacefulness from the lake in order to continue on with the rest of our vacation plans.

Taking time to soak up the views and breathe the fresh air will add to the relaxation you experience during your vacation to the peninsula. There's no better place to take time to pause and reflect on where you are and where you've come from. Yoga is a great tool to use to capture these moments and make the most of them. Whether you practice a few poses, whole sequences or classes, or simply borrow a few breathing techniques from the sport, you'll realize your time spent outside in the county will be more enjoyable and memorable...all from taking a moment to breathe!

Door County is home to a slew of great yoga studios, teachers and open classes. A quick search will guide you to many of them, even exciting outdoor classes like paddle board yoga. These are great to try, especially if you've taken a class or two in the past. It's always fun to experience yoga through a new instructor in a new place. I often take classes while I'm traveling to see how other instructors teach and how they guide students through new sequences. Each teacher has their own twist and something to share, making it worthwhile to drop in to a class that fits into your vacation plans while in Door County. Check in with your resort...sometimes they have in-residence instructors as well!

But do not fear if your schedule doesn't allow for a full class. Yoga doesn't need to become a sport in itself for you, instead try weaving it into your everyday plans to enhance what you're already passionate about. You'll be amazed at how much more enjoyable the activities you already love will become when you take time to stretch out, cool down, and breathe before you dedicate yourself to your favorite activity.

Check out my pose recommendations for these activities and incorporate them during your next Door County visit!

Cycling

My dad and I ride often together, most recently we rode to Ellison Bay Days in June, putting around 35 miles on our bike that day before and after enjoying the festival. After stepping off my bike at the end of the afternoon, I noticed I was tight in my thighs and shoulders. A quick Halfway Lift using my bike as a prop allowed me to open up my shoulders and realign my back. For my thighs, sinking back into Camel Pose stretched my upper thigh and hip flexors while simultaneously stretching my back. Camel Pose is also great for undoing that forward hunch causing stiff backs, necks and shoulders after longer rides.
Yoga after Biking_Door County_CoolandConnectedInsider

Walking, Hiking & Shopping

A full day of walking and hiking creates some stiffness in the hips, especially if maneuvering on unstable ground like with hiking. Shopping will also have you using your hands to peruse through racks or carry heavy shopping bags. Treat yourself to Warrior 1 for your hips and Gorilla Pose for the wrists before you set out for the day's adventures...whether venturing into one of Door County's state parks or the famed strips of boutiques along the lake. Both of those poses will also release tension in the shoulders, back, and stretch out your legs for the day. Face into the sunshine for your powerful Warrior 1, and sneak onto the grass for a soft ground to practice Gorilla Pose.

Running

Runners often hear of the added stress they may be putting on their joints as they 'hit the pavement'. Yoga can help runners build up strength in the muscles that surround their joints by practicing regularly. To warm up for a run, try Runner's Lunge, termed so for it's amazing benefits across the body for runners of all types. This pose can be modified for flexibility and strength by raising the knee off the ground or dropping it down. Make sure to keep your chest up to feel the stretch in the upper thigh. A great pose to practice on the pavement right before you head out for your run. After your run, take an inversion that allows your feet to be above your head, such as Happy Baby Pose. This allows the lactic acid to escape your legs relieving any cramps or fatigue. A great rejuvenation after a long run.

Beaching & Water Sports

Water sports are typically full-body activities. Whether you're renting paddle boards for the afternoon, kayaking around Kangaroo Lake, or simply dipping in the lake, taking a short warrior sequence through Warrior 1, 2 and 3 will revitalize your body and give you the necessary stretch you need for all major muscle groups. It's also a great introductory flow into a long practice after a day of being on the water (PS, warrior sequences are great accompanied with a Door County sunset!). As power poses, they're excellent for the excitement of water sports and energy from the sun that you may be relishing in that day.
Yoga on the Beach - Door County

Dining

Door County is home to a slew of excellent restaurants serving today's catch and locally sourced produce. Practicing a bit of mindfulness meditation prior to going out for dinner will allow you to focus on what you're choosing to indulge in and appreciating each bite. Post dinner poses that focus on twists in the torso assist with digestion and nutrient absorption. Try Half Lord of the Fishes Pose or a simple Seated Twist Pose in a nearby park to encourage digestion and rid of bloating after a big meal.

Yoga can fit in anywhere, at anytime. Practicing it while on vacation will help you deepen into relaxation and mindfulness while doing what you already enjoy. The breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, captivating lake views, excellent eats and mild summer weather will inspire you even more. Stepping outside to warm up your body and mind before your next adventure will give you the extra spunk you need for the day, without the extra cup of coffee.

Try it out! I challenge you. See what taking a few moments for outdoor yoga can do for you and your vacation in Door County. Who knows, you may even end up taking yoga home with you as a souvenir.