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.