POKHARA, Sept 20: If you like to practice yoga while on a trek, women trekking guides of Pokhara, who double as yoga gurus, are now ready to accompany you throughout your journey.
Nepali Yoga Mahila Guthi, a Pokhara-based trust of women Yoga gurus, has recently conducted a yoga training session for 10 women trekking guides.
After participating in the camp, they are now ready to teach yoga to tourists who want to practice the centuries-old form of meditation while walking through serene and pristine hills.
"Halfway through trekking, some tourists fall sick," says Sunita Gurung, a trekking guide who also took part in the yoga camp, adding, "They panic even when they suffer from minor health problems like headache and nausea, and decide to give up before reaching their destinations. Now, we can help them get over such minor problems through yoga."
In the past, Gurung has run into many tourists who sought the company of yoga gurus while trekking. "Especially those who regularly practiced yoga were worried over having to discontinue the meditation in trekking," says she. "They no longer need to worry."
The women trekking guides cum yoga gurus believe that the additional service they offer can be an effective therapy for tourists to relieve fatigue caused by hours of walking. "We pass through magnificent waterfalls, rivers, hills and woods during trekking," says Gurung. "Tourists want to stop by these naturally beautiful places for some time. If they practice yoga while taking rest, they can feel energized and walk more easily ahead."
Debika Gurung, president of the guthi, believes that the yoga service along the trekking route can be helpful in attracting more tourists to Nepal. "If tourists practice yoga while trekking, they usually pass through a seven-day route only in 10 days," she says, adding, "In this way, we can also encourage tourists to increase their days of stay in Nepal."
Narayan Sapkota, Western Regional Chapter President of Trekking Agencies´ Association of Nepal (TAAN), sees a huge potential in the development of the yoga-in-trekking concept. "A lot of tourists want to practice yoga while trekking," says Sapkota. "However, only a few trekking agencies have so far offered yoga service in trekking because we do not have a sufficient number of trekking guides cum yoga gurus."
The guthi says it will produce more trekking guide cum yoga gurus after assessing the demand of tourists. "In the next few years, tourists wanting to go trekking in any route from Pokhara will be able to take along trekking guide cum yoga gurus," Gurung says.