Yoga in the Mountains

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Emily Tidwell, left, leading a session of Yoga in the Mountains. Tidwell's goal is to combine hiking with yoga for a new experience. (Ellis Atwood)
Elizabeth Tidwell, left, leading a session of Yoga in the Mountains. Tidwell’s goal is to combine hiking with yoga for a new experience. (Ellis Atwood)

Fresh mountain air, stretching your body to new lengths and plenty of deep breathing — it’s not regular hiking; it’s Yoga in the Mountains.

Elizabeth Tidwell, founder of Yoga in the Mountains here in Provo, feels there is something special about connecting with nature while doing yoga. She believes it is something unattainable through any other experience.

“It’s different than doing yoga in a traditional studio because I feel like it’s so good for the soul and just very nourishing,” Tidwell said. “I do yoga to slow down and escape.”

Although she has worked as an English instructor for BYU in the past, she is scheduled to begin teaching yoga for the university this fall. Tidwell has been a certified yoga instructor for a year.

Yoga in the Mountains started unofficially last summer when Tidwell began meeting with friends to do yoga in various canyons surrounding Provo. She decided to widen the experience and open it up to anyone interested. Locations change each week and have included Rock Canyon and the vista above Canyon Glen Park. Tidwell’s goal is to combine a small amount of hiking with the rejuvenation of yoga stretches.

Tidwell explained that benefits of yoga expand past merely physical; there are also mental, emotional and spiritual impacts. Yoga promotes overall personal wellness in many different aspects.

Liz Stephenson, yoga instructor at Idaho State University, has been an instructor for 12 years and said she loves the combination of physical, spiritual and especially mental health provided by yoga.

“I really feel like yoga connects your body and mind in a focused and natural way,” Stephenson said. “That’s why yoga is great for people who struggle with stress or anxiety, because it gets you to focus on your breathing and what is actually happening in the moment.”

Stephenson also said she believes anyone can feel confident doing yoga since there are so many ways to modify the poses. “You don’t have to be flexible to do yoga.”

Provo resident Breann Bone started doing yoga in 2011 and feels that it gives her the opportunity to relax. “With the world moving so fast around us, yoga lets you collect your thoughts and gives you a place where you can just be yourself,” Bone said.

Yoga in the Mountains is a free, donation-based event with no commitments. Tidwell said about her creation, “I designed Yoga in the Mountains to help others rather than to be about an obligation to a gym membership.” Everyone is welcome to attend her class, whether they are beginners or well-rounded yoga experts.

For more information about Yoga in the Mountains, visit yogainthemountains.weebly.com.

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