Miranda's Yoga & Nature Journey
Welcome to the first official post of the official Namaste in Nature blog! I’ll be releasing new posts every Friday to help encourage more health, fun, nature & yoga in your weekends.
Who am I? Great question. I’m Miranda Peterson, the founder and owner of Namaste in Nature. In this post, you’ll learn about my journey from corporate life to world traveling yoga teacher to entrepreneur.
I asked my friend and mentor Mado Hesselink, long time Asheville yoga teacher & trainer to ask me a few questions. If you’re a yoga teacher as well, you will love her Yoga Teacher Resource Podcast, Facebook Group and website full of ideas and tips for improving your yoga classes or yoga business.
Q1. How did you get into yoga and why did you decide to make it such a big part of your life?
My very first yoga class was in college at U Tampa around 2006, but I didn’t realize what it was at the time. I took a 1 credit “Stretch and Relaxation” class to fill out my course load and we met every Friday morning at 8 AM, which was very inconveniently the morning after College Night at all the local bars. Long story short, I didn’t take the class seriously and ended up with a C, the lowest grade I’ve ever received in any class ever. I wish I could find that poor teacher now and tell her the seed she planted finally sprouted - it just took a really long time, lol.
I would practice again sporadically between 2008 and 2015 if a yoga class happened to be offered at the gym I went to or I had a groupon for a studio. It wasn’t until I ended an abusive relationship and then quit my corporate job in 2015 that I started going pretty regularly to a studio in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I loved everything about this yoga concept and after a few months, decided to include an intensive teacher training at the source during a 6 month sabbatical in Southeast Asia.
I completed my RYT200 at AyurYoga Eco Ashram located in Karnataka, Southern India in August 2015. My 6 month sabbatical stretched into most of 2 years and spanned over 25 countries. I volunteered with elephants in Thailand, took care of sea turtles in Sri Lanka, meditated with Buddhist monks in Myanmar, hiked the Annapurna Circuit in the Himalayas of Nepal, got lost in the Calanques National Park in France, camped out in the Andes of Peru and learned so much more about the world and myself.
I taught yoga at a studio in South Carolina for a while in between travels and also completed a yoga internship in Medellin, Colombia. (I edited several videos of my adventures on my Mirambling channel as I thought I wanted to be a travel blogger but pivoted again and decided to put down roots in Asheville, NC in 2017.)
Q2. When did you first get the idea to combine yoga with hiking?
After hearing about my travels and yoga teaching, a friend suggested I do yoga hikes. I didn’t even know that was a thing! I felt called to test the concept in Asheville. I started last year with a meet-up group and a few scheduled events on eventbrite on the weekends while still working full time at a design job during the week.
People really enjoyed their experiences so I decided to keep going and got my permits, insurance, schedule, website and everything up and running. I also happened to meet lots of other local ladies that are passionate about yoga in nature as well and now I have four additional yoga guides who work with me: Audra, Lindsay, Jessica and Nathalie. We even led three amazing yoga hikes during the Asheville Yoga Festival this year!
I think when you find something you really enjoy doing, you start vibrating at a higher frequency and it attracts more people. (That and promoting it all over the internet, facebook and instagram.) :P
Q3. Who usually signs up for yoga hikes and why?
I welcome everyone but we mostly host women who are visiting Asheville. I’m honored to have been a part of many groups celebrating a birthday, bachelorette or other important life transition. I also get a lot of individual women who are taking some much-needed time for self-care. You learn and grow so much when you get out of your routine & your comfort zone to visit a new place or try something new!
There are so many trails and fun things to do in Asheville, that it can be overwhelming to figure out what works for you. I’ve been beyond happy to scout out the safest & most scenic spots to hike and do yoga that are around an hour or less drive from Asheville. I also customize the yoga class to the skill level of my guests, including beginners and first timers.
My goal is for the experience to be super easy & efficient for guests: you get to immerse yourself in the mountains, take a yoga class, meditate, have some pictures taken, meet more people with similar interests, learn a little history and ask a local for advice (restaurants, other things to do) all within 2-3 hours!
4. What do the people who work with you say about the experience?
I definitely put forth my best effort with every yoga hike, but I’m still always overwhelmed with gratitude whenever someone shares their kind words with the world via TripAdvisor, Google, Facebook or Yelp. Here are some excerpts from a few recent reviews:
“I enjoyed the hike to the waterfall and the yoga with Miranda! She was easy to talk to and made you feel very comfortable...” - Kristi D
“Miranda is outstanding!! She tailored the yoga to the group's experience levels. She is very organized, returns emails and phone calls promptly, is enthusiastic and very interesting.” - Susan B.
“Miranda picked an absolutely perfect mountain to hike. The yoga before the hike was the best I have ever experienced. To make it even better, she documented the whole experience so I can relive the wonderful morning anytime I want.” - Laura Z.
5. What do you wish people knew about doing yoga in nature?
According to the EPA, the average American spends 93% of his/her time indoors! I want people to still feel that they are a part of nature and spend more time immersed in it.
I wish more people knew about the additional physical and mental health benefits of hiking and practicing yoga & meditation. Yoga improves flexibility, muscle strength, balance, posture, protects the spine & joins and boosts serotonin.
While hiking outdoors, you get some Vitamin D from the sun, which helps manage blood sugar, facilitates hormone regulation and helps improve our mood. Regular aerobic exercise like hiking lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, colon & breast cancer and depression.
Switching off our electronic devices and spending time in nature gives the cognitive portion of our brain a break, allowing us to focus better and renew our ability to be patient.
Phytoncides are airborne chemicals that trees and plants give off to protect themselves from insects and also contain antibacterial and antifungal qualities to help them fight disease. When people breathe in these chemicals, our bodies respond by increasing the number and activity of white blood cells, which boosts our immune systems.
Earthing or grounding (having direct skin contact to earth, stone, sand, etc) allows naturally, negatively charged electrons to flow through the body, which improves sleep via your circadian rhythms, slows aging, decreases stress, inflammation & pain and increases energy.
I want everyone to do more yoga, meditation and spend more time outside wherever they are. If you happen to be visiting or live near Asheville, we’d love to have you join us for a yoga hike to a beautiful waterfall or majestic mountain summit! We welcome individuals, couples and groups for both pre-scheduled public yoga hikes as well as private yoga hikes. Browse our current schedule here or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a 2-3 hour yoga + meditation + hiking journey.
Namaste & Have A Great Day!