What better way to start your day than to find your calm spot or prepare your muscles for hiking than to join a morning yoga class? Open up your heart chakra, get the chi flowing – a yoga session could be the very best prelude for a day of adventure in Yosemite.

Yoga classes are held on the open-air Tenaya Lodge Grand Terrace through the summer months. You can also book private yoga classes through the Ascent Spa (subject to availability — see below for details).

  • SEASON: Summer 2017
  • HOURS: 7:00-8:00am
  • DAYS: Saturday through Wednesday, inclusive
  • DURATION: 1 hour
  • PRICE: $15

Private Yoga Lessons

The Ascent Spa also offers private yoga lessons for as little as $25 per person*. Please understand that our ability to offer private lessons is dependent on staff availability. For more information, please call the Ascent Spa at 559-692-8954. 

*Pricing: Private class for one person is $50. Private classes for two or more are $25/person.

Benefits of Yoga

Why join a yoga class? Ascent Spa yoga instructor Salem Samuelson offers the following perspective on how yoga can help repair the damage done by the stress of day to day office life or a hard hike in Yosemite.

Postures of Habit

 Routine can be exceedingly helpful in daily discipline and order. Unfortunately, it can also prolong the existence of bad habits. Poor posture, usually begun in the teens when it is partially expected and easier for young blood to sustain, gets increasingly detrimental as we mature.

What makes things like stooped shoulders, irregular gait, or habitual leaning on one side or the other so hard to correct is that we often don’t realize we’re doing it. This is where yoga poses, asanas, are particularly beneficial. While it’s true that postures such as Warrior II and Tree are not what our bodies naturally tend toward, the asanas of yoga still emphasize alignment and balance. This helps both the body and mind to become familiar with how it looks and feels not to put undue strain on the joints and muscles.

Yoga pose on the grass

In addition, yoga poses assist in putting every limb though its full range of motion which increases entire body awareness and consciousness of what the body is and is not comfortable doing. Once the body has gone through the correct alignment in the postures, it becomes easier to recognize when it drifts away from it. With increased body awareness, you can personally recognize when the body goes out of alignment and can consciously correct your posture and ease the tensions of the day.

Many instances of back spasms or chronic pain are the result of poor posture during regular activities. In most cases, it’s the compounding of habitual bad posture that has been putting strain on the body for years and has finally tiptoed over the line to obvious injury. Learning how to hold your body in proper alignment not only helps to alleviate those detrimental stressors, but also aids in building up one’s foundational strength and core so when the body does undergo those stressors and strains it is more resistant to them and can recover more quickly.

Good posture is about more than being sure the body is shown to its best advantage. It also ensures optimal function and comfort. Balance and health are promoted and protected, and every activity, from sports to housework to sitting at a desk, can be embarked on with confidence.

Looking Back

Once anyone has been around asanas, the posture portion of yoga, for any length of time, they’ll realize that it involves an awful lot of looking over one’s shoulder. Twists come up frequently in the standing, sitting, lying down, or some head turning hybrid of the formerly mentioned poses. There’s a reason for their popularity and the fact that they’ll be practiced by those who have never tried yoga.

The simple movement stretches and relieves strain on the back. Keeping healthy amounts of synovial fluid circulating in the joints can be accomplished for the spine just by twisting the upper body to the right or left, assisting in sustaining continued mobility and joint health.

Twists are hugely beneficial to the whole stomach region. They help to stimulate the entire digestive tract as well as other vital organs in the abdominal area. Twisting helps to squeeze blood out of the more sluggish veins, and the unwinding assists in bringing more blood in. This aids in the primary functions of blood: oxygenating the body, removing toxins, and providing nutrients.

Most immediately relevant to yoga, the spinal twist provides a kind of reset. Inversions, backbends, and the various strengthening postures of yoga, while good for you, are nonetheless putting stress on the body. Muscles are tensing and joints are articulating in ways that the body may not be entirely used to. Ligaments, tendons, muscles, and joints are eased back into a neutral position with the spinal twist. Like when you rotate your ankle after stepping on it incorrectly, movement in a joint can help to realign slightly displaced tendons and ligaments.

Nerves that have been pinched can also be relieved as the body goes through twists and ranges of motion. As the neural pathways are strengthened, body awareness, balance, and general sensation can be increased.

Perhaps most appealing is that the twist can be an isolated exercise. While the benefits can be increased if incorporated into a fuller routine, they can still offer results when practiced by themselves. Mastering the twist puts immediate back care right at your fingertips.

Ache Alleviation

Women in warrior pose on Counties lawnOne doesn’t come to the Yosemite area without the intention of seeing some of its iconic landmarks. Glacier Point, El Capitan, Half Dome, Vernal, Nevada, Bridalveil, and of course Yosemite Falls all feature prominently as sights to see from a distance or up close and personal. As might be expected from those close encounters, they’re often accompanied by a whole lot of stiff and sore muscles after the hike has been completed.

Hard working muscles produce lactic acid, and lactic acid that stays in the muscles produces aches and stiffness. The post work out cool down is essential to keep the blood moving as lactic acid is dispersed and prevented from making the next day miserable.

For those already in the throes of uncomfortable acid build up, engaging in exercise comparable to what got you there in the first place is one of the best way to alleviate the symptoms. Since not everyone is equitable to two day trips to Half Dome in a row, there are other options.

In many ways, yoga poses are ideal for combating the fallout of rigorous exercise. Asanas, yoga postures, can be applied and engaged in at a high level of exertion, but they can also be modified and eased into, while still flushing out lingering lactic acid.

Asanas take the body through its entire range of motion, activating every muscle that was used in that excursion to Yosemite Valley. Blood flow can be vigorously or gently increased as it washes away soreness. Controlled breathing in yoga results in more highly oxygenated blood which will in turn more richly nourish and repair the organs of the body.

Old fashioned stretching is also well represented in a typical asana session. Tightness can transition into working flexibility and the, “I’m never doing that hike again!” mentality may ease into, “I think I’d like to give that another try.”