Many of us do yoga for a sense of retreat from the craziness of our daily schedules. Some go as far as trying to attain zen, while others are content with securing a free, uninterrupted hour for themselves. And while doing yoga in the confines of a studio is often enough to help you meet your objectives, nothing beats the feeling of doing yoga in nature – particularly a hiking trail and there are many beautiful trails in Big Bear to take you outside and into nature.

A Big Bear local and certified yoga instructor, Stefanie Ruland shares her experience with outdoor Yoga in Big Bear Lake. She hikes her way to the top of castle rock trail early in the morning with her yoga mat, and favorite hiking companion her furry friend Lulu. Castle rock trail is a fairly short 2.4 miles round trip journey with stunning views. The first mile or so is a little steep but levels off when you reach granite rock at the peak. She is doing yoga where the ground isn’t completely flat, and holding poses where one can enjoy the silence and then, later, try to fight distraction from barking dogs and screaming children. More interestingly, though, Stefanie provides a glimpse into what it’s like to do yoga in a place where you are disconnected enough from an increasingly connected virtual society, while still being close enough to learn to overcome the challenges of deliberately plugging out.

Here are some reasons for you to try outdoor Yoga:

Explore New Places
As creatures of habit and comfort, we gravitate toward our favorite spots in the park and miss out on other great areas the park has to offer. Outdoor Yoga encourages you to seek out less populated, if not oft-deserted, areas to execute your poses. Be careful not to get lost, though. And if possible, go on outdoor Yoga trips with a group of people. This is safer and guaranteed more fun. Which leads us to our next point…

Meet New People
Outdoor Yoga really is a great way to meet and mingle with new people. There isn’t a better way to connect with other people than through a shared love for yoga, and in a rather unconventional setting, at that. If you don’t have that option though, why not take the lead and gather around a group of your yogi friends for a new experience up in the mountains?

Learn to Focus
When hiking in the mountains, there will be quiet areas and noisy ones–those with barking dogs, chattering moms, and squealing, screaming, and wailing kids. Yet therein lies the beauty of such a challenge: in an environment that isn’t conducive to focus, you are forced to learn other ways to do so.

Break Free
Outdoor Yoga teaches you what it truly means to break free and disconnect from the familiarity of a routine. More importantly, it teaches you what it truly means to be balanced in a world with distractions that never permanently go away.

Big Bear, California is one of the most visited alpine lakes in the country. This is due to some of the best lake leisure around, great skiing, and endless other activities. But it is also because this is one of the most beautiful places in the country. The following are a couple places throughout the Big Bear area that provide the very best views of that beauty.

Castle Rock Trail

You can find beauty throughout this 1.5-mile trail, but the real prize lies at the end of the hike. It culminates with sweeping views of the lake, but also of the incredible mountains that surround. This is often considered the best place to take in the mountains. Not only does this spot provide for some of the best views, but it requires a bit of light exercise. Nothing adds to the pleasure of a pleasant hike like an incredible view. You can find the trail on the southwest corner of the lake off of Big Bear Blvd and Fisher Creek.

Boulder Bay Park

This amazing spot puts you on the shore of Big Bear Lake while providing incredible views of the beauty that surrounds. This is the best place to experience the contrast of blue and emerald water that makes you feel as if you are in the tropics coupled with forests and mountains. This is a truly stunning place. The best vantage point in the park comes from the small, charming dock that takes you out over the crystal blue water. Find this incredible experience on the south side of the lake at the intersection of Big Bear Blvd and Bluejay Lane.

Anywhere on the Water

There are countless opportunities to get out on the water. Among the most peaceful methods of enjoying the views from the water are those afforded by sailboats, but you can also kayak, paddle boat, jet ski, and everything in between. You can rent all your watercraft at Big Bear Marina on the south side of the lake, or from North Shore Landing on—you guessed it—the north side of the lake!

You may come for one recreational opportunity or another, but you are sure to fall in love with Big Bear for the natural beauty that you will find there. Whether it’s the heart of winter or the heat of summer, plan your next trip here and be blown away by the amazing sights you will find.

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads…

Santa's Village at Shore Acres in Big Bear Lake

A average December morning begins with the alarm beeping a tune that still sounds annoying no matter which ring tone selected on the phone. It is ok – because most of us were dreaming about the work anyway. Next the coffee maker hisses and the squawk of the news fill the room. Checking email…perhaps dressing kids….pouring cereal….bus stops….commute….traffic….darnit! Clocking in 1 minute late. Thinking about Christmas presents, a performance, gotta put gas in the car, why does the phone keep doing that? Oh. Its ringing.

There is just one thing in your heart at the end of the day. It would be nice to getaway and have a perfect Christmas for once. Is there any way to do that anymore without buying a plane ticket?

And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,  
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,  
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,  
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,  
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash…

Not far away snow is falling on 11 little cabins and twinkling lights of every color dance off the surface of the Lake. The Guests there are with family and friends and the muffled sounds of laughter and a too loud tv interrupt the scene in a gentle way. Wood smoke from a hot fireplace tingle the nostrils and someone is barbecuing nearby. One of the larger cabins have the sounds of little feet pattering here and there and children whispering about Santa.

Cabin at Shore Acres Lodge / Santa's Village

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow  
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,  
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,  
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,  
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

It is time to make a wish come true. A short journey to a mini North Pole is just a phone call away. Santa’s Village Big Bear Lake is waiting for you to come visit. Every cabin filled with Holiday decor inside and out. Santa and Mrs. Claus have been making visits on the weekends, listening to children’s wishes and handing out candy canes and cocoa.

Shore Acres Lodge / Santa's Village

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,  
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!  
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!  
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!  
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”  
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;  
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,  
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.

At the end of the day there is a small part of Holiday magic in each of us. Sometimes we can be so busy we forget the wonder of the Holidays and the true meaning it holds. It is not about the gifts, or the bling. It is about making memories with the ones we love.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof  
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,  
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.  
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,  
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;  
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.

I myself can attest there is a little magic in this place. Not long ago I was a Guest at cabin #109 nestled in front of the boat dock at the edge of the Lake. I had spent the day in the desert where hot palm trees flitted in a dust storm offering very little shade. That evening I forgot all about the desert as I looked at the glass like water reflect the mountains and felt a chill in the air causing goose pimples on my arms. It is hard to believe the relief I felt as I watched my children sneak down towards the water to get a closer look at a blue heron standing there. In the morning I woke just in time to see a mighty sunrise. I carried my son onto the patio wrapped in his blanky; watched his tired eyes get wide as the horizon turned colors and painted designs on the clouds.

Shore Acres Lodge / Santa's Village

His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!  
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!  
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow  
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,  
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;  
He had a broad face and a little round belly,  
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

This Christmas, come to Big Bear and be part of the Big Bear Vacations family. We are not in the Vacation Rental business, we are in the business of making memories that last a lifetime. Make Big Bear your home away from home. Bring that big coat at the back of the closet and the kids winter gloves. Plan on an adventure that recharges and rejuvenates you, making you ready for the coming year. Maybe that will mean a stroll through the Village where shops faces are toting elegant or unique wares, a lovely dinner at the restaurants nearby, or perhaps tasting the samplers at both breweries and deciding which one is the best! Your perfect Holiday getaway might happen on the mountain with skis or snow boots on, sliding down one of our tubing hills, or ziplining through the woods. The plethora of options tucked away in Big Bear make designing a perfect Christmas an easy task.

Big Bear Lake

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;  
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,  
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;  
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,  
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,  
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;  
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,  
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,  
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

The other evening I was watching a movie that has become a Christmas tradition: The Polar Express. It is about a young boy who goes on a journey of the heart to the North Pole that shows him that the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. A small reminder he carries with him is a bell Santa gave him, the ring of the bell can only be heard by those who hold Christmas in their hearts.

When I am lucky enough to visit Santa’s Village, especially after a fresh snow, I can tell you I hear the bell. It is one of those magic places that remind you to Believe.

You are invited to come spend the Holidays with us.