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Hike a Pose
Dena Levitz | Photo: Benjamin C. Tankersley | June 5, 2014
Danielle Reyes treks into summer with new plans for her workout that combines hiking and yoga.
In most yoga classes, an instructor will ask students to reach up to the sky. Above them, of course, are usually fluorescent lights anchored into the gym’s ceiling. Danielle Reyes’ classes are different. Students are literally looking up at the sky when she asks them to. And during a tree pose—when students should root down to the ground—beneath them is actual ground, not mats. What’s really different, though, about her practice is that it’s combined with hikes—a new style that’s catching on.
Yoga Hikes DC take place either downtown—trekking through sections of Kalorama—or in more nature-based settings like Rock Creek Park. Either way, Reyes takes participants through a series of yoga poses—15 minutes long—followed by a rapid hike. This process is repeated three times for 90 minutes. The start of Yoga Hikes DC’s second season just began. This year, Reyes is adding instructors and partnerships with more companies like Sweetgreen. Reyes also taught her yoga-hiking blend to yoga teachers at a major national conference last year, so look for the discipline to spread well beyond Washington.
The origin of the company is unique too. By day, Reyes is a senior program officer with the Meyer Foundation, doling out millions in grants to area charities. Yoga was long something she did sparingly. “People talk about having a consistent yoga practice, and I certainly didn’t,” she says. “I’d be in savasana [final resting pose] making up my Trader Joe’s list. When I turned 40, I said, ‘I have to give this a more serious chance.’” She did. Suddenly Reyes wasn’t just attending classes—she enrolled in a course to become an instructor. Teaching wasn’t the goal; rapid self-improvement was. Yet her instructor was so complimentary of her ability that Reyes was persuaded to lead classes. As she did, she’d take her individual practice outdoors. The premise turned into Yoga Hikes DC, and the company launched. To Reyes, it’s an expression of her passions. “I always liked doing outdoor activities with people and building bonds through fitness,” she says. “Whether through my job or personal life, I like helping people fulfill their goals.” $100 five-hike pass, $25 drop-in pass, Sat. and Sun. through August