March 19, 2017
The first few swings of the axe land awkwardly – too light and tentative.
“Really give it a good swing,” one of the guides says. “Show it who’s boss!”
A few more attempts follow – each more intent than the last – and then the axe lands in the ice, grabbing hold with a satisfying sound. Oh yea, I’m the boss.
I’m not all that experienced a climber of any kind – rock, ice, jungle gym – but learning to ice climb was an exciting prospect. Intimidating, too. In my novice climber’s mind, ice seemed delicate and unstable – like it might shatter beneath me at any moment – which made the idea of climbing it even more daunting. And, yea, kind of terrifying-exciting.
There’s a whole world of things I don’t know about ice and climbing, which is why guided climbing trips with outfits like Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School are so fantastic. They supply the gear and expertise to keep us safe, which means we get to focus on having a good time and swinging those axes like a champ.
My ice climbing excursion was part of a whole-day, multi-part experience (which started with ice climbing and ended with yoga, wine, and hot soup) put together by Maine Yoga Adventures. Our day started at the Acadia Mountain Guides home base on Main Street in Bar Harbor, where we signed waivers (but of course) and got our gear: harnesses, helmets, and boots.
It just so happened that we were on Mount Desert Island during a bit of a winter warm spell – a fact that, as you might guess, has an impact on area ice. Having scouted out conditions in advance, our guides decided to switch our destination, nixing the ice formation on Dorr Mountain and instead going with the ice-covered cliffs just off Sargeant Drive.
Climbing on ice on the side of the road sounds weird – but this is a sweet spot. There’s barely any cars on the road this time of year, so you don’t have to worry about a constant parade of traffic (although a few cars did cruise by and the drivers seemed as delighted to see us climbing there as we were to be there climbing). Plus you’re overlooking gorgeous Somes Sound, with views of mountains in the distance and a ice-covered cliffs right in front of you.
Our guides, Pat and Dick, walked us through all the basics – getting our crampons onto our boots, how to hold the axe near the base of the handle and swing it with purpose, how to keep our pelvis forward and our heels down as we climbed. Pat showed us how to belay, too, and how to back-up the belayer. Each of us was going to have a chance to do all the things.
Because ice conditions weren’t ideal for an all-day climb, we spent the second half of the day snowshoeing.
“Perfect,” I thought. “An easy-going snowshoe after all that climbing will be just the thing!”
And for the first few minutes, it WAS easy-going.
And then it got steep.
The climb (and the huffing and puffing) was worth it, though, because the views from Dorr Mountain are stupendous.
Ice Climbing with Acadia Mountain Guides
228 Main St, Bar Harbor
Rates vary based on half-day or full-day climb, the number of people in your group, the number of guides. And Acadia Mountain Guides goes all over – Acadia, Camden, Moosehead Lake region, Bangor area, the White Mountains,
There’s a Half Day Ice Climbing Taster that’s perfect for beginners (offered in Acadia and Bangor), as well as a full-day Introductory Ice Climbing Experience (offered in North Conway, Sunday River/Grafton Notch, Sugarloaf, Acadia National Park, and Camden). Intermediate guided climbs also available.
All the climbing gear is provided – helmet, harness, boots, crampons, axes. You’re responsible for wearing appropriate clothing (layers!).
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Where do you find your adventures? Maine offers something for everyone in the realm of adventure. Today we speak with Holly Twining, founder of Maine Yoga Adventures, and Tino Fuimara & Taki Miyamoto of Salt Pump Climbing, about the ways they are helping people get up and out in search of adventure.
January 20, 2016
Name: Holly Twining
Business: Maine Yoga Adventures, adventures for the body and mind
Location: Orono, Maine, U.S.
Reason for starting: I had been working for Maine Audubon and started a quarterly Yoga & Nature workshop at the nature center that I truly loved. After 10 years, I was set free from the organization and realized that I could take that piece of my job — connecting people of all ages to nature and bring it together with my yoga practice — and build community on my own. The Yoga & Nature workshop expanded and became Maine Yoga Adventures.
How do you define success? Success is an ability to inspire people and bring them into a community that moves, shares, connects and imagines together. Success is simply seeing faces light up with glee during an adventure that I’ve designed. I would like my adventures to expand beyond Maine. I’d also like people to come to me to design adventures for them for a group of people they’d like to bring together, either family members or employees or entities of schools, universities, hospitals etc.
Biggest Success: Maine Yoga Adventure’s launch event in July. We were sold out and full of excited participants ready to kayak, practice yoga and enjoy a wine tasting and yummy healthy food. It was amazing to hear people ask me when the next adventure was and what was it going to be and could they please be kept informed of upcoming adventures…
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? Getting people to take the leap and register for adventures is a huge challenge. I’m constantly addressing this challenge (the business is only 3 months old) and looking for new ways to spread the word of Maine Yoga Adventures so it is not limited to my local community. The loss of a part-time job made me a business owner — the best thing that could’ve happened to me. Via the services/adventures that the business offers, I try to make the amount that I made monthly for Maine Audubon.
Related: An Inside Guide to Angels
Who is your most important role model? My parents. From my mother I received my high energy, loud laughter, enthusiasm and love of being physical, and from my father I received the ability to be brave, to connect deeply with nature and to say exactly what you feel.
By Jodi Hersey
Yoga is one of the most relaxing forms of exercise. It's all about breathing, stretching, meditating and listening to your body. But who knew it could also be considered adventurous?
Holly Twining of Orono is turning people's perception of this low impact workout on its head by combining yoga, nature and seasonal activities into one experience with her new company, Maine Yoga Adventures or MYA. Twining, a yoga instructor and tennis teacher is also a former Fields Pond Audubon naturalist. She started MYA as a way to combine her many passions in life.
"It's going beyond your terrestrial or ordinary yoga practice and freshening it up a little bit by connecting with the water, connecting with the outdoors and connecting with each other," said Twining. "Some folks spend too much time on their computers, phones or in front of the TV, so the connection to nature is a huge piece of it, and a nice way to mix things up." Twining believes MYA will attract longtime yoga lovers as well as first-time participants and adventure seekers. "I have a paddleboarding and tennis adventure in southern Maine [this September] and some of my tennis crew, who I know do not practice yoga but could really use it, will come to this adventure to take on the tennis piece but get the additional benefit of practicing yoga," she said.
Laurie Osher has been participating in Twining's classes for years and already has signed up for three adventures.
"I want her business to be a success. I love yoga, I love Holly and I very much enjoy paddling, so it's a win-win-win," said Osher. "We live in a state where people can do it on their own but the joy is going with someone who is so knowledgeable about the outdoors, and you can't beat that."
Twining, who teaches basic, gentle, chair, aerial and Vinyasa flow yoga, as well as Mantis yoga (for kids) at Om Land Yoga in Orono and Brewer, said this form of exercise is something all ages and fitness abilities can enjoy.
"Yoga spans all ages. You only go where your body wants to go. It's not about doing every detail that your instructor is doing. You've got to feel it out for yourself and see what feels good and works well for your body," explained Twining. "A lot of time it's about taking a moment, a breath, to go inside and clear the busy mind of constant thoughts that are going on. Yoga helps clear the mind and while you're clearing your mind, you're nourishing your body with the breath. From there you can move into stretches and relieving your body of stress through the movement."
Over the years, Twining has seen yoga's popularity shift. "When I lived in New York City, yoga seemed popular in the dance community. But I've certainly seen yoga shift and change from meditation, gentle and Vinyasa to fitness yoga, paddleboard yoga, aerial yoga and beyond, which seems fine as long as the instructor doesn't let go of the fact that this is still a yoga practice full of breath and mindful movement," she explained.
Having an instructor who is in tune and mindful of the body's movements or lack thereof, was a big priority for Osher, especially after a back injury.
"I've been doing yoga for 20 years and before I moved here, the teacher really mattered and the same is true here. I do yoga on my own and with Holly because I have to make sure the teacher is guiding me and I feel physically safe so I will not re-injure my back," said Osher.
Twining has already organized several adventures including Paddling & Wine Tasting ($55 plus cost of kayak rental if you don’t have one) and Hiking & Paddleboarding ($75), and during each excursion, yoga is either incorporated into the actual activity or practiced in between the outdoor experiences.
"You can do terrestrial poses on a paddleboard. My favorites are wheel, down dog, headstand and crow," said Twining. "But during our first adventure we started with a little yoga warm up, then got into our boats and had two hours devoted to kayaking, followed by some light food, an hour-long yoga practice and a wine tasting."
The cost for each adventure varies depending on the actual activity, rental space, food and professional fees needed for other instructors. Twining can also create custom adventures. "If there is a group that wants to come together to create their own adventure, I'm really happy to do it because I have professionals in every arena and can bring people together to create an adventure for anybody," she said. Twining is already looking to expand her business by creating a Maine to Mexico adventure in 2017. "I'm going to Costa Rica in January to set up an adventure for next February. Maine Yoga Adventures came from a workshop I was leading called Yoga & Nature. In those workshops we'd have some different yoga practices, the outside element and the healthy food element. So I'm just expanding on that and taking it out of state."
There is a limit to the amount of participants Twining can take on each adventure, so people are encouraged to sign up in advance.
"No matter how you are doing it, you can always find a way to practice yoga," said Twining. "So if people come out to an adventure and have never practiced yoga, great. If people have never been on a paddleboard, great. It doesn't matter, we have professional instruction for everything."
For more on Maine Yoga Adventures, visit maineyogaadventures.com.
There are yoga classes. And then there are yoga adventures.
Holly Twining is inviting us all to join her in an adventure.
Holly, a yoga instructor based in Orono, is the founder of Maine Yoga Adventures, an event company that combines yoga with an array of other fun activities, from hiking and tennis to writing and wine tasting.
Her first event – a Paddling and Wine Tasting Adventure – is coming up this Saturday from 3 to 8 p.m. in Orono. The afternoon starts with an outdoor yoga practice and then moves to the water for two hours of kayaking. Afterward, there’s a picnic, more yoga and then – oh yes – a wine tasting.
Yoga + Kayaking + Picnic + Wine. That’s a pretty fantastic way to spend a summer Saturday. Oh, and did I mention the optional chair massage?
Late summer and fall adventures are already scheduled, too, like a hiking and paddleboarding adventure in August and an overnight on Borestone Mountain in September. There’s also an upcoming event for kids and Holly’s also hoping to get a yoga and karate event on the calendar.
And Holly plans to keep the adventures going year round (think writing and snowshoeing workshop in January or February).
But whatever the adventure, Holly hopes to get people outside to enjoy nature and meet each other.
“I think it’s important for people to get outside, to move their bodies, to stay curious and try things they haven’t tried before,” she said.
The adventures are open to all levels – people who have yoga experience and people who have never done yoga at all. In fact, Holly said, novices are encouraged. “I want people who haven’t practiced yoga to get out there with me and give it a try.”
Participants can also work with Holly to plan a specific yoga adventure of their own (yoga and swimming? Yoga and birding? There are so many options!).
“Maybe you really love to kayak but never practiced yoga,” said Holly. “I’m hoping that those people will come and experience a yoga practice and are drawn to it and all the things it can do for you.”
And since Holly also has a deep appreciation for nature (nature’s pretty awesome, so we can see why), she’s hoping to share that, too.
“I think in my life I found it important to inspire other people to get excited to get connected to nature….even if it’s just in your own backyard.”
Paddling and Wine Tasting Adventure
3 to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 25
1 Old Meadow Ln Orono
“Connect with nature with an outdoor yoga practice then move onto a two hour paddling excursion. Learn to make your boat dance and play on the water learning new strokes and maneuvers with a focus on body alignment and fluidity that will link to your yoga practice.”
Kooky Kids Adventure
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, August 5
Webster Park, Orono
“Venture out with your children to enjoy a day of yoga, art, and nature. Holly Twining, founder of MYA, will lead an outdoor mantis yoga class – a fun animal and insect inspired yoga class filled with yoga postures both flying and terrestrial.”
Hiking and Paddleboarding Adventure
3 to 9 p.m. Sunday, August 30
Ship Harbor Nature Trail, Acadia National Park
“Join Machelle Lahaye, certified paddleboard and yoga instructor, and Holly Twining, founder of MYA, for hiking, paddleboard yoga fun, and healthy food.”
Paddleboarding and Tennis Adventure
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, September 5
Fort Williams, South Portland
“Find strength and confidence in your core as we move beyond the shoreline with paddleboards provided by Portland Paddle. After paddleboard fun, we’ll take a break to breathe in the beautiful environs. A healthy lunch will nourish our bellies and spirits….We’ll hit the tennis courts. Kelly will lead an hour long clinic to work on tennis skills and strategy followed up by an hour left to play.”
Borestone Mountain Weekend Adventure
1 p.m. Friday, September 25 to 1 p.m. Sunday, September 27
Borestone Mountain, Guilford
“Maine Yoga Adventures is heading to a gorgeous sanctuary for hiking, yoga, paddling, healthy food, an evening explorations. Encompassing more than 1,600 acres in Maine’s Hundred Mile Wilderness region, Borestone Mountain Sanctuary offers a spectacular array of natural features, including rare older forest, three crystalline ponds, exposed granite crags and sweeping panoramic views. ”
For more information on Maine Yoga Adventures:maineyogaadventures.com
Posted June 29, 2015, at 2:08 p.m.
ORONO — Holly Twining announced recently that she has opened Maine Yoga Adventures, a business that will allow her to focus on her desire to bring people together to enjoy yoga and nature in unique ways.
Twining, who worked formerly at Fields Pond Audubon Center in Orland, said Maine Yoga Adventures was created to offer retreats that connect diverse yoga practices with nature and seasonal outdoor activities. Adventures will include hiking, birding and paddleboarding and many others. Companion activities to yoga and nature immersion include creative writing, vegetarian cooking, dancing and more.
Adventures will vary to include different age ranges and activity levels from beginning to expert. For example, families can enjoy a Mantis Yoga for Kids adventure mixed with painting and a picnic lunch, and seniors can enjoy a Chair Yoga class then move onto Thai food and a leisurely walk. Expert instruction will be provided for each adventure and space given for individual inspiration, as well, Twining said.
Maine Yoga Adventures will launch its first event, Paddling and Wine Tasting Adventure 3-8 p.m.Saturday, July 25, in Orono. The event will include outdoor yoga practice, a two-hour paddle excursion with Karen Francoeur of Castine Kayak Adventures, food and wine tasting.
For information, go to maineyogaadventures.com.
Brian Ulbrich (left) of Southwest Harbor and Natalie Feulner do yoga poses during an Acadia Stand Up Paddle Boarding yoga class at Echo Lake on Mount Desert Island.
By Natalie Feulner, BDN Staff
Posted June 26, 2015, at 9:16 a.m.
MOUNT DESERT ISLAND — Sun glinted off Echo Lake as five paddleboarders taking a class with Acadia Stand Up Paddle Boarding made their way to a quiet cove. Their experiences with paddleboarding and yoga varied, but once out on the water, that mattered little.
Instead, instructor Alex Taylor worked to keep class more about having fun, exercising and connecting with nature.
Stand-up paddleboarding has been common in Maine for several years. During the summer, the state’s many rivers, lakes and coastlines are home to young and old standing on long boards, exploring the waterways.
But it was only recently that paddleboard enthusiasts and companies such as Acadia SUP started combining the low-impact sport with another: yoga. These days, classes and programs in Bar Harbor and southern Maine are indicative of a national trend that has yogis and paddlers alike eager to accept the new challenge.
Many of the customers at Acadia SUP’s yoga classes are newbies to stand-up paddleboarding, yoga or both. Only a handful hit the water regularly — but for owner Chris Strout, that’s OK.
“It’s very novel, still, for a lot of people,” he said.
Strout explained his company’s “bread and butter” is not their speciality classes, such as paddleboard yoga, but rather rentals and paddleboarding basics at lakes and in the ocean. Still, when he heard about the yoga trend, he knew it was an opportunity to “diversify” his revenue stream.
Classes cost $25 for 75 minutes of instruction and a rental of all needed gear: a 9- to 12-foot board, a paddle, a lifejacket and an anchor so the board doesn’t float away. Strout said he knows it may be pricey for some people to do regularly — yoga studios often charge $12 to $15 per class — so he tries to offer incentives, such as a free class after four.
So far, it has been working. Classes started in mid-June and regularly are full or close to it. Taylor — who lives in Los Angeles, California, part time and said the sport is “taking off everywhere” — said the classes in Bar Harbor are indicative of how quickly it’s catching on.
“It’s trendy. It’s exciting for people to try. It’s a great combination of things; you get to move and get some cardio along with traditional yoga,” she said.
Yoga instructor Holly Twining, who recently started a company called Maine Yoga Adventures, said it’s becoming more common for yoga students to seek unique or different classes, whether they’re new to the practice or are an expert.
“Yoga has started falling into many different categories: You have chair yoga, paddleboard yoga, aerial yoga,” Twining said. “Now that [yoga is common] a lot of people are looking at how we can enhance our practice or find new challenges, and taking it off the mat is fun for people.”
Connecting with nature
Southwest Harbor resident Brian Ulbrich started paddleboarding about a year ago. He loved being on the water, and it offered him a different perspective than he was used to with kayaking.
He also started looking into practicing yoga around the same time.
“I like to try to keep young and limber, and yoga is easy on your body,” Ulbrich said.
After one class in a traditional studio, he decided he was better off practicing outside and while floating.
Paddleboard yoga “lends itself to focusing on the world around you,” Ulbrich said. “The fusion of paddleboarding and yoga is a great combination: It’s a symbiotic relationship.”
Taylor said a lot of her fellow yoga instructors are looking to move their practice outside.
“Once you’ve done it, you get hooked and curious. You want to see what else you can do,” she said. “I don’t even do yoga inside anymore. I love to just take the board out and play.”
Twining agrees and said yoga has always had a holistic component that is enhanced by bringing it outside.
“Taking yoga out of the regular practice [environment] is just another way to connect with nature,” she said.
And it’s a great way to focus entirely on the moment, something yoga teachers frequently are reminding their students to practice.
“You really have to be present in what you’re doing. When you’re on a paddleboard, it’s really hard to check out,” Taylor said.
An activity for all
When Twining started practicing paddleboard yoga, she taught lessons at the University of Maine swimming pool in Orono. Something she noticed right away was the range of options for students.
In addition to the fun factor, many students felt more comfortable trying challenging poses knowing they weren’t going to face plant into a hard, wooden floor.
“They felt safe enough. You know you can fall in the water, and it’s going to be OK,” she said. “They would fall, laugh it off and get back on.”
When Ulbrich returned to class last week in MDI, he brought along his 9-year-old daughter, Emma Mattingly. Emma had been on a paddleboard with her father but hadn’t ever done yoga. Shortly after starting class, she was holding poses alongside some of the more experienced students.
It demonstrative of what Taylor said is another big draw. Poses usually are easy at first, then become more challenging. All have an advanced option for those who want to push it further.
“It’s beginner friendly, but it’s also great for experts, too,” she said. “Yoga gets exciting again. Even advanced yogis are going to find it challenging.”
http://bangordailynews.com/2015/06/26/outdoors/yogis-take-practice-out-of-the-studio-onto-the-water/ printed on August 1, 2015