Awe-Inspiring Appalachian Trail Mountain Yoga Hiking Tour

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I'm Miranda. Welcome to Namaste in Nature where we craft custom yoga + hiking experiences near Asheville, NC and create fresh content about nature, yoga, meditation & mindfulness every Friday.

QUIZ: What Native North Carolina Spirit Animal Do You Need Right Now?

QUIZ: What Native North Carolina Spirit Animal Do You Need Right Now?

I’ve encountered all kinds of amazing native animals while living and hiking in Western North Carolina.

Join us for a yoga hike and you might get lucky and spot one of these creatures too!

The spirits and personalities of animals can inspire guidance and change in our own lives. Take this quick 5 question quiz to determine which native North Carolina creature has wisdom and inspiration to share with you right now.

You'll also learn more fun facts about these animals and ways you can help protect them! And also, today - October 4 - is World Animal Day! #worldanimalday

Black Bear

Is Black Bear the Spirit Animal Guide you need right now?

Is Black Bear the Spirit Animal Guide you need right now?

Asheville is known for frequent bear sightings. (Although I see them around my neighborhood far more than I see them out on the trails. The black bear is the only bear species found in North Carolina or anywhere in the eastern United States.  Black bears rely mostly on their sense of smell and hearing due to poor eyesight, but are adept at climbing, running, swimming and digging. Recent research has shown bears to be much more adaptable to habitat changes, including living near developed areas.

Bears put on additional weight in autumn to prepare for winter hibernation and construct nests of leaves, sticks, and grass within the den located in cavities of live trees, hollow logs, caves, rock outcroppings, cavities in the ground, or in a thicket. In North Carolina, denning starts as early as November and they emerge from in March or early April, depending on the weather and mobility of their cubs.

Seek out Bear Spirit as a helpmate when your instincts seem a little off. Bear then becomes a guide on your journey for honing your insight, including psychically and emotionally.

Bear can also help you discover, acknowledge and empower personal abilities that we may otherwise underestimate. Release whatever holds you back and embrace Bear’s wisdom.

Bear as a Power Animal is especially helpful when you need to stay grounded and walk on terra firma. Bears are bowlegged. This helps them with balance and enables them to better grasp tree limbs/not slip on ice. In this, Bear energy can help you “get a grip”, find your balance and stride through any situation with strength and confidence.

Read More About Bear Spirit Animal. 

Bear Safety in Western North Carolina


Is Elk the Spirit Animal Guide you need right now?

Is Elk the Spirit Animal Guide you need right now?

Elk once roamed the southern Appalachian mountains but were eliminated from the region by over-hunting and loss of habitat with the last elk in North Carolina believed to have been killed in the late 1700s. By 1900, the species was headed for extinction.

Elk were reintroduced to the Cataloochie Valley in Western North Carolina in 2001 and 2002 and they are clearly not too bothered by humans. We encountered one on the trail and had to stand and wait several minutes for this large lady to finish her Trailside snack and head off into the woods. 

Read more about the Elk Comeback and more about the Cataloochie Valley where they were reintroduced. You can even take a guided elk tour with Asheville Hiking Tours

Elk signifies that you are entering a time of plenty. In other words, everything you need you will get. Alternatively, elk suggests that you don’t try for the quick and easy. Therefore, long and steady progress is the key to reaching your goals. The Wapiti also brings you courage and perseverance in achieving your goals.

People with the elk totem know how to pace themselves. They may not be the first to arrive, but they will get there without burning out. Like the horse, folks with this spirit animal will often feel the need for companionship or group support. They understand that they do not have to do everything alone, and that help is out there waiting for them.

Read More About Elk Spirit Animal. 

[White] Squirrel

Is Squirrel the Spirit Animal Guide you need right now? Image from  Romantic Asheville

Is Squirrel the Spirit Animal Guide you need right now? Image from Romantic Asheville

White Squirrels are a well-known natural attraction in Western North Carolina. The best place to see them scurrying around is on the grounds of Brevard College, located slightly south and west of Asheville. (Also near our Deluxe Triple Waterfall Yoga Hike.) 

According to, the Brevard squirrels, with dark eyes and sometimes gray streaked fur, are not albinos; a condition in which an animal’s body has no melanin, a color pigment, resulting in white skin and fur, and pink or reddish eyes. Local legend has it that white squirrels originated from a carnival animal truck in 1949. There’s even a White Squirrel Festival that happens every May over Memorial Day Weekend. 

With squirrel spirit animal as your totem, you choose to prepare for all occasions. You are also ready to socialize at any given moment. People with this spirit animal are very good at balancing their lives with work and play.

Squirrel totem people tend to be a little erratic at times, often trying to do many things at once. Take the time to stop and listen to your inner self and focus on one thing at a time. You are also enormously curious and always have to know what is going on wherever you are.

Read More About Squirrel Spirit Animal


Is Butterfly the Spirit Animal Guide you need right now?

Is Butterfly the Spirit Animal Guide you need right now?

Butterflies are bountiful throughout North Carolina in the Spring, Summer and Fall seasons. (We see plenty of them on our yoga hikes.) I see Tiger Swallowtails and Spicebush Swallowtails most often in Spring and Summer and Monarchs migrate through NC in Autumn. 

Monarch Butterflies migrate over 2,000 miles each fall from the Northeast United States to Mexico, passing through the Asheville area in September and early October. They usually travel along tree tops and mountain ridges, so they are rare to see in lower elevations. However, the Monarchs that spend the winter in Mexico die during the return journey in the spring. Their descendants finish the trip north where they lay their eggs on young milkweed plants. Four generations are involved in the annual cycle. 

The butterfly symbolism urges you to pay attention to certain aspects of your life that need to be changed or transformed. When the butterfly appears, you are being encouraged to be more sensitive to your personal growth and expansion. 

In general, butterfly symbolism always brings you massive transformation and embrace those changes in your environment and with your emotional body. This physical transformation of energy around you is taking root and expanding in ways that may surprise you. Release any expectations you may have about the outcome of this change and do not try to control it. Allow it to flow through and around you. 

Alternatively, butterfly symbolism could be reminding you that we are all on a long journey of the soul. As a result of this adventure, we encounter endless turns, shifts, and conditions that will cause us to morph into ever-finer beings. Ultimately, at our soul-journeys end, we are inevitably changed and not at all the same as when we started on the path.

Read More About Butterfly Spirit Animal.

Learn more about local butterflies and other pollinators with Spriggly’s Beescaping online or on instagram.


Is Cardinal the Spirit Animal Guide you need right now?

Is Cardinal the Spirit Animal Guide you need right now?

The Cardinal has been the official state bird of North Carolina since 1943. However, only the males display those bright red feathers. Females are brown with reddish wings. You can hear their cheerful sounding chirps nearly year round, pair will mate for life and males will aggressively defend their 4-acre territory.

People just settling into a new home or work space find that Cardinal an excellent animal spirit guide for traversing and protecting their territory effectively.

If you are someone who struggles with seasonal emotional swings, Cardinal is a year-round helpmate that helps you adjust to the ebb and flow in both weather and life. The Cardinal power animal assists with other matters of health and vitality too.

Those who find themselves hesitant to speak to potential partners can reach out to Cardinal for both confidence and the right song for wooing (or minimally getting one foot in the door).

Other goals for which Cardinal lends energy include: clarity, joy, uniqueness, improved communication, dutifulness and preparedness.

Read More about Cardinal Spirit Animal

Support Native North Carolina Wildlife

If you love animals as much as I do and want to help wildlife here in Western North Carolina, you can support Appalachian Wildlife Refuge by volunteering locally or donating or mailing in your used (and cleaned) mascara wands to the Wands for Wildlife program. 

Appalachian Wildlife Refuge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that coordinates the needs of wildlife rehabilitation in Western North Carolina providing care for injured and orphaned wildlife, support for the wildlife rehabilitation network and conservation education to the community. 

Asheville's Best Outdoor Yoga & Meditation Destinations

Asheville's Best Outdoor Yoga & Meditation Destinations

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