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TAKE IT OUTSIDE - Katie Bamber, Sun Valley, Idaho
Monday July 30, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

The rush of doing yoga outdoors is huge, & infinitely more so when practicing at 2,800m - Is it the altitude or just the scenery?



'On a rock, in the desert, at altitude.'

That's the first thing the instructor said to us as we faced out to the Sawtooth Mountains, ready to stretch, ground and work out.

It's even more important here to recalibrate and recouperate, being in the harsh conditions of Idaho's Sun Valley.

But let me not mislead you; Sun Valley resort and its downtown of Ketchum is by no means a hard-up desert mountain town that's dry, dusty and quiet in summer.

It's perhaps the most luxurious destination I've ever visited - a secluded oasis deep in the mountaineous desert.

It's where America's elite come for their staycations to mountain bike, fly fish, 'backpack', golf, eat, drink and yoga.

It's hardcore here; it brings being 'active' to a new level, but a hipster, high-class town if ever I've seen one (just one with a higher age median, probably 100% due to the cost)...

But more on how to get the best of this beautiful area of the world and what to do as a local later.

Back to yoga, with the best of views and best of buzzes.

PlanetSKI'S Katie trying it outPlanetSKI'S Katie practicing yoga at altitude
















It takes some time acclimatising for someone used to almost-sea-level living, humidity and city smog.

Zoning out, slowing down and checking in with oneself are the pleas of London's yoga instructors.

So that's what I'm doing - taking some time out from the news side of things and taking it easy, real easy, out in the hills of cowboy country in the States.

Out into the country and up one of my favourite ski hills: Bald Mountain.

But it's actually during summer when Sun Valley, the USA's first ski resort, attracts the majority of its visitors. Famous for quiet pistes when there's snow, it's quite the opposite in summer.

So it's yoga, and in a spectacular location.

When you leave the four walls of a studio, all of your senses wake up:

Scent, sight, and touch, in particular, activate parts of the brain that make you more present.

    - Dr. Matthew Baral, 'This Is Your Brain On Nature'

Bald MountainBald Mountain

I arrived at the River Run base area for 9.30am to ride up to 2,800m.

It'd be a treat to just sit up here atop Bald Mountain and look out a while.

You can, but the resort will charge you $30 to ride the gondola up the mountain, so the $28 yoga session was a steal.

River RunRiver Run
















A gondola and then, perhaps the best part of the morning, a chairlift.

Sitting alone on a chair, travelling over the wildflowers, under the sun, with a breeze - a treat in the mountainous desert of Idaho - I could have ridden it all day long.

Or was that the fear of doing dynamic yoga after a few months out of play?

I'm no devout yogi.

I dip in and out with intensive spurs of energy for the discipline.

I get the spitirual and ascetic elements; It helps my mood and sleep; I also do it as a foil to stretch out as well as strengthen the muscles I use for the explosive and extreme sports I do, like skiing and biking.

Being outside under the sun improved all three of these; it kept it interesting, I was so focused (despite the heightened sensory experience with the gorgeous background and the distraction of the birds and breeze) and so engaged, being so completely away from the norm.

... And I got some extra energy taking in that Vitamin D.

















Nevermind the smoke in the air from wildfires further west, travelling over from Washington and California.

I assumed it was gorgeous morning haze.

So the views were apparently not up to scratch.


Sun ValleySun Valley  looking south
















Bald Mountain ski runs & paraglidingBald Mountain ski runs & paragliding
















So I made it up and got down on the mat, telling myself that the worst would be that I spent the hour in child's pose basking in the sun, listening to the grasshoppers clack around.

But of course with a good teacher, a challenging flow, and a good dose of American enthusiasm I've been soaking up, I got well into it.

The hour flew by.

Downward dogDownward dog, butts up to the sun















I vowed never to leave doing yoga as long again, it taking nearly the whole session to get back to a passable downward dog where I didn't feel like slashing my hamstrings and calfs for an inch more space.

Sun ValleySun Valley
















With all the zen and renewed energy it gave me the buzz to try something new;

All sorts had made it up the mountain for summer fun.

Mountain bikers were already riding and tandem paragliders had picked what seemed to me an idyllic day to fly (though I'm sure the locals would apologise to these guys even more profusely for the hindered views).

















My head rush from a hard session at altitude and my yoga'd loose limbs might not make for the safest sportsman today, though.

Perhaps I'll just source out more perfect spots for some sun salutations and jump in a glacial river.

Yoga at its bestYoga at its best















It's hard to resist with such a backdrop:

Y O ? AY O G A
















So back down to midstation to recouperate at the Roundhouse with a green juice and tea - apres yoga they call it.

Yes, all in with the yogic cliché.

But this is Ketchum.

Do I need to go further into the lifestyle in this small haven in Idaho?

Ok then...

Check back soon for backpacking and lake hunting.

Back to valley normalityBack to valley normality















Yoga practiced outdoors, under the sun, among wildlife is really something special.

Try it, climb that hill, or find the water. Anywhere, but mix it up.

More from the (not quite) normal life here in Sun Valley soon. Here's more from last summer and winter (yep, we keep coming back...):

North of KetchumAt the heaving lake 'beaches'
















Sawtooth Mountains IdahoSawtooth Mountain range at dusk













See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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