Thursday, May 12, 2016

10 Reasons to Try Heli-Yoga

I recently had the fantastic opportunity to take a heli-yoga tour out of Kananaskis with Rockies Heli Canada. Heli-yoga, in case you haven't heard of it, involves taking a helicopter up to an alpine ridge for a relaxing mountain-top yoga experience. It was definitely bucket list worthy and I met some pretty cool people on my tour.

Mountain-top Yoga in Kananaskis

  10 Reasons to Try Heli-Yoga


1. It is 100% Bucket list worthy! 


My heli-yoga tour was done as part of Canadian author, Robin Esrock's, 2016 Canadian Bucket List Speaking Tour. Robin is the "bucket list expert" for Canada and has written 6 books devoted to traveling across the country in search of the top bucket list experiences.

Meeting a fellow bucket-list enthusiast and KEEN Ambassador
In his presentation at the beginning of our tour, Robin explained his criteria for naming something worthy of a "bucket list experience."
Is it unique in the world? (or in Canada in this case)
Will you remember it the rest of your life?
Will it make a great story?
Is it something everyone can actually do? (physically, logistically, financially won't cost you the moon...)
In answer to those questions, yes, Heli-Yoga is a bucket list experience.

Mountain top experiences are always special and unique (and really, how often do you get to do yoga on top of a mountain??)

Yes, I will remember this trip for the rest of my life. (I will remember every helicopter trip I've ever taken.)

It definitely makes a great story!! I've already been talking the tour up with friends and have been met with dozens of questions including the most popular: What the heck is Heli-Yoga??

And, yes, anybody can climb a mountain with the help of a helicopter. An intro yoga class is also something that most people can do if they take it easy and don't take themselves too seriously.

The last time you did yoga on top of a mountain or alpine ridge top??


2. You get to ride in a helicopter!!


Seriously, that's probably all I need to say for this point.

THAT is the helicopter I just rode in!!

3. You get to reach a summit without climbing or hiking


Many people will never know what it feels like to stand on top of a mountain or ridge top unless they can take a gondola, chair lift, drive up, or fly in a helicopter. Let's be honest, climbing mountains just isn't feasible for all people! Thanks to companies like Rockies Heli Canada though, you could take your grandparents on this tour.

The mountain top experience that anybody can achieve!

4. Outdoor yoga is absolutely unique and different from inside yoga


I remember bending over to do a down dog and thinking, "the mountains are upside down!!" "How cool is that?!"

I also thought it was super neat to look up at the sky while doing a stretch on the ground and just staring up at the fluffy clouds passing by over top.

I don't know about you, but I don't normally lie down on the ground after climbing a mountain just to stare at the clouds. That was a bucket list item in its own right.

Not your average yoga studio ceiling

5. I got to walk barefoot across a mountain ridge


I remember seeing a photo on instagram one time of a girl walking barefoot across a mountain ridge. At the time, I thought it was silly because who goes hiking without boots or shoes?? It was clearly staged and posed. I decided to try it though while on my yoga tour (since I was barefoot anyway) and it was pretty neat. I  definitely recommend a short barefoot walk next time you get on top of a mountain or ridge.

Experiencing nature in a whole different way

6. Great bonding with new people


As with any unique tour, you get a cool opportunity to meet new people, and to bond over a shared experience that you are all trying for the first time. I knew many of the people on my tour but I still came away with new friends. Meeting Robin was bucket list worthy alone if you know how passionate I am about making my own lists full of must-take trips, goals, and things I have to do this month/year/life time.

Friends, new and old, on my heli yoga tour

7. You get the chance to actually enjoy a summit experience 


My summit experiences usually consist of hiking up (often as fast as we can to tag the summit before dark,) spending 10 minutes on top to inhale an energy bar, and then running down (again, often with approaching darkness.) This was NOT that kind of summit experience. We hung out on the summit for over an hour, we did a yoga class, we had fresh smoothies, and we got to fully enjoy our experience. This has impacted how I view hiking and I am making a commitment to spend more time on top of the mountain rather than just running up and down. After all, what's the point of reaching a summit if you don't enjoy it??

Enjoying my summit experience

8.  This is a great chance to play outside and to embrace your inner silliness


I found this to be a playful yoga class where none of us took ourselves too seriously. We laughed, we fell over (a lot,) and we had a lot of fun. We tried new poses, we took goofy photos, and we just enjoyed playing! (Again, something I don't do very often on a hike or on top of a mountain.)

My favourite pose (with a helicopter as my backdrop this time!)

9. Heli-Yoga is a great way to recharge and get energized


What do you get when you add outdoor exercise + yoga + a mountain top experience? Energy, that's what! I definitely felt rejuvenated after my outing and felt more productive afterwards.

Add some energy into your week with a heli-yoga class


10. Heli-tours would be super fun with kids


We were all "big kids" on my tour but Rockies Heli Canada offers many different tours that would be family-friendly. The one that peaked my interest was heli-backpacking. The gist of it: get whisked into the backcountry without having to carry your gear or hike in. Spend a night or two camping with a certified guide, spend your days hiking, and enjoy your mountain experience - again without carrying all the gear!

Rockies Heli Canada also specializes in team building events and I can see how this would be a lot of fun to try something new with your co-workers in a great setting.

Visit the Rockies Heli Canada website for more info on their tours and programs.

Traveling to the backcountry in style!

Getting to Kananaskis in Style


Robin Esrock's Prairie Bucket List Tour was made possible by Ford Canada who provided Robin and his guests with awesome new cars to ride throughout the tour. We got to try out the new Ford Explorer which is being marketed as "The civilized way to return to nature." Given that the car had massage seats for the driver and front row passenger, I'd say this is pretty accurate. And did you know that you can get not only heated seats, but cooled seats? After being outside in the sun for hours, this is a pretty neat feature.  We upgraded our truck to a Ford F-150 last year and it just might be time to switch the car over to something a little more comfortable too.



Special thanks to Rockies Heli Canada, Robin Esrock, Brookline PR, Ford Canada, and the Canmore Yoga Lounge for all working together to make this tour possible.



Disclaimer: I participated in this tour as part of a media promotion through Ford Canada but all words and opinions are my own.


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