Business focus: Mountain Yoga Breaks

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 09.48.18Now that things have started to get (a little) sunnier, we thought we’d look ahead at the fantastic outdoor events and activities taking place in the Cambrian Mountains. One of the coolest breaks comes courtesy of Mountain Yoga Breaks, who combine mountain biking, walking and Yinyasa yoga in the Cambrian Mountains in trips starting in May. We caught up with owner Polly Clark to find out a little more about the business. 
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So Polly, how did the idea for the business come about?
I’ve been teaching yoga for over ten years but got into mountain biking about 4 years ago when I was working at an outdoor centre with Phill Stasiw who runs Mountainbikewales. I noticed that yoga really helped to stretch everything out after a ride… and then noticed that the focus and balance of yoga really helped when it came to technical descents as well as difficult climbs. Myself and Phill got chatting about it and decided to run some weekends combining the two. We chose the Elan Valley for a few reasons, its wildness, the abundance of natural trails and its proximity to where we both live.
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Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 09.48.29How do yoga and mountain biking work together in a package?
Yoga helps with most sports. It improves strength, flexibility, stamina, lung capacity and focus. We use dynamic yoga in the morning before a ride to warm us up and get us going, the session after a ride is more about recovery, so we spend a lot of time stretching out the legs and hips as well as releasing shoulders, neck and upper back. While out on a ride we remind people to relax and focus on the breath when they are heading down something challenging. We think that both yoga and mountain biking make you feel great so putting them together is a recipe for happiness!
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Tell us more about Vinyasa flow yoga?
Vinyasa Flow yoga is an offshoot of Ashtanga yoga. Where Ashtanga Yoga follows a set sequence, Vinyasa Flow is a freestyle form, postures are linked together with the breath so that the practice becomes almost a dance. This form of yoga creates heat in the body enabling increased flexibility, the sequences can be challenging so improve focus and stamina.
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What can people expect from a holiday with Mountain Yoga Breaks?
Our weekends tend to have a very relaxed atmosphere. Expect some epic riding in wild open countryside, river crossings, challenging climbs, super fun descents, bogs, red kites flying overhead, more river crossings, woodlands and waterfalls, you will probably get covered in mud at some point, but then hot showers, cake and coffee and some relaxing yoga before a delicious home cooked meal and maybe a glass or two of wine! We are out riding on the first day for about 5 hours, then a shorter ride on the second day of up to 4 hours. By the end of the weekend you will have no choice but to be completely relaxed and unwound.
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Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 09.48.52What sort of food and accommodation do you offer?
The accommodation is at Elan Valley lodge which is a 5 star activity centre where you can have your own room and ensuite bathroom so no waiting around for a shower! The weekends are full board with plenty of breakfast options, packed lunches and very generous evening meals. The lodge has an honesty bar for those of us who like a beer after a ride!

What makes the Cambrian Mountains such a great location for a relaxation holiday?
The Cambrian Mountains are a much lesser known part of Wales than other places which tend to attract big crowds. The Elan Valley is stunning, semi-ancient woodlands, wild open moorlands, stunning views and once out riding on the hills you are very unlikely to see anyone! Easily accessible too.

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