Climb and Say “Om”

Do you love to breathe in the fresh mountain air and test your strength by hiking? Do you love to stretch and elongate your muscles with yoga? What if you could hike and do yoga at the same time, all the while making new friends along the way? Tali Miller-Sanchez’s love for both activities inspired her to unite yoga and hiking together, creating YogaHikes—a challenging workout combining hiking to get your heart rate up, and yoga overlooking the beautiful natural scenery of Santa Barbara, to calm your mind.

Tali, a yoga lover as well as owner and teacher of the company Dew Drop Yoga, teaches several types of yoga. An enthusiastic yogi almost her entire life, her teaching career began during a trip around the world.

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After graduating from college and struggling to find her spot in the world, Tali decided to travel the globe for a year and put her career searching on hold. While traveling the world, sleeping in hostels, and underneath the stars in the jungle, Tali resulted to practicing yoga outside the studio, in public spaces. Practicing out in the open in parks and beaches drew curious spectators who often asked to join in. Through teaching to her newfound students, Tali’s calling became clear—teaching yoga and fitness.

When Tali arrived back in Seattle where she was previously living, she began teaching yoga in studios and on hiking trails, inspired by the outside yoga practices during her world tour. “With the fresh air, the sand, the trees, and the monkeys howling, I felt more connected and more focused than when in a studio, so I taught yoga out in nature,” Tali said.In 2005 she left Seattle for Santa Barbara to get her certification in Ananda Yoga. Now certified, Tali teaches several different yoga classes, many of them outdoors and involving hiking.

One of the many reasons Tali found a love for yoga, especially yoga practiced in nature, is the relaxation it delivers to the body and mind. Yoga is a great activity to put not only your body, but also your mind in focus and at peace. Tali found nature to be the best place to let her mind concentrate on her yoga poses while helping her stay connected with nature. Tali explains this is the key to her success as a yogi. In an effort to expand the appeal of yoga to a wider audience and to add to the workout, she incorporated hiking into her yoga routine. Combining hiking, a sport that allowed her to take in the great outdoors with her yoga routine helped strengthen Tali’s bond with nature.

“Yoga is there to help bring you into your natural self. Yoga means union. When you are in a natural setting, it is easier to find the natural self. The roots and basis of life are reminded. The practice focuses on strength, breathing, and meditation. The sounds of nature are our music so we can tune in and focus more on the mind,” Tali explains.

Along with the ability to focus and concentrate more easily in nature, Tali found breathing to be more fulfilling outside. Deep intense breathing is the key to her yoga practice. “By breathing deeplyI am keeping myself in shape. When you’re putting your body in different and varying positions, you learn to breathe deeply. Breathing cleanses the body. This helps you to achieve a resolution to a problem in your life or in your body, no matter what that problem is,” Tali explains.

Another yoga practice Tali teaches is Moonstruck Yoga, which takes yoga to a whole new level. With live drummers playing soothing music in the background, this yoga practice carries you to another place. The music creates a tune to your breathing and a rhythm in your body unattainable by anything else. Tali supports her students to transform their rhythm and movements into dance, and move their bodies around as much as possible in order to learn and understand more about their bodies and its natural rhythm.

“Moonstruck Yoga is a lot of fun in a whole different way. Being moonstruck can energize you as well as calm you down. The atmosphere— with the live drummers playing music, it carries you to a whole other place. It allows you to tune into your breathing, and create a rhythm for the body.I encourage my students to transform their movements into dance. We then hone back in and do a moon salutation and finish with some stretches,” Tali said.

Tali, who is also a hiking trainer, prepares and accompanies hikers for an annual summer hike to the infamous Mount Whitney. During the hike up the 14,505-foot mountain, yoga is practiced daily. Tali stresses that practicing yoga during such a mentally and physically straining activity can help you place your focus in the right direction so you can complete anything.“The yoga practice is about creating health in the body and understanding yourself in the mind. It’s all about reaching the peak; the highest point.”

Tali believes in the power of yoga because it has worked so well for herself as well as her fellow yogis. She emphasizes how important it has become in her life to sustain balance, focus, and overcome any difficulties she has come across in her life. “Yoga helps me to enjoy nature and life and keeps me on track. It gives me a whole new outlook,” she said.She believes anyone who is willing to try it can benefit from yoga. Yogahikes, Moonstruck Yoga, and any other form of yoga all have their own benefits. Tali focuses on her classes as a way to bring together the community. “The classes are a great way to learn about people and their lives and create bonds,” she explained. Tali welcomes anyone and everyone to come try out her classes.

Linzay Logan

Linzay has been a writer and editor for nearly seven years, specializing in health and fitness journalism. She is currently is a script writer for a start-up company in the Bay Area, and was previously the associate editor for Competitor magazine, a national running magazine. She has a BA in English from UC Santa Barbara and a MA in English from San Diego State University. Running, training for triathlons and teaching group fitness classes are her favorite ways to stay fit and active.

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