Namaste, New Hampshire-style: Bow resident masters mindfulness in winter with snowshoe yoga

By Melissa Proulx
Union Leader Correspondent
February 26. 2018 7:49PM
Kate Kretschmer, center in the pink, has been teaching snowshoe yoga for nearly five years. (Amy King/Courtesy)

Between six to 10 students take part in the class at a time. (Amy King/Courtesy)

BOW — Kate Kretschmer was out in the woods one winter snowshoeing when she found an open spot and stopped to look around.

Snowshoeing was something that she had picked up a couple of years earlier to fight the habit of hibernating during the winter, and it was an activity she had grown to love.

“You can access the woods in ways you usually can’t,” she said.

The Bow resident, watching the sun come through the trees, said she suddenly felt inspired to start doing yoga in her full gear. A trained instructor since 2005, the meditative practice is one she’s been passionate about for years.

“I laugh because it’s so cliche,” she joked, “almost like a movie.”

That’s where the idea to host snowshoe yoga classes and have others join in was born.

On weekends, Kretschmer and a group of six to 10 students will head out onto the wooded trails in Bow for the two-hour class. She’s been holding these sessions for about five years.

It starts with some walking as a way to warm up before finding a spot to settle in for a yoga class. Kretschmer said the experience allows the student to practice mindfulness as well as simply enjoy the experience of being in the woods.

“I find that after we teach a class, you just feel blissful,” she said.

Within an hour, depending on a person’s weight as well as the place and terrain, you can burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour, Kretschmer said.

The activity is good for all ages due to the low impact it has on the body, Kretschmer said.

“I just see it as such a multi-layered experience,” she said.

Though Kretschmer said she’s usually able to hold classes most weekends during the winter, she’ll opt out if there isn’t enough snow on the ground or it’s bitterly cold.

“The tricky thing with snowshoe yoga is it’s weather- and trail-dependent,” she said.

March tends to be a productive month, thanks to the last-minute storms that can come during that time, Kretschmer said.

While the classes are primarily taught along the hiking trails in Bow, Kretschmer said she’s not opposed to traveling elsewhere in the state if the conditions there are better.

“I’m willing to go anywhere,” she said.

Kretschmer and her class were featured on the “Today Show” recently.

A third-grade teacher by day, yoga isn’t the only adventure Kretschmer takes on during the year. Kretschmer is a reiki master, a middle school cross country coach, running coach, mindfulness teacher, makes her own natural products and is a mother of two.

During the summer, she also holds a week-long summer camp for kids at Field to Fork Farm in Chester owned by Jennifer Bukowski. The purpose of the camp is to help children become more mindful and to connect with nature.

Along with yoga sessions, Kretschmer said she and the kids also do work around the farm.

“It’s just an all encompassing week with the kids,” she said.

More information can be found at Kretschmer’s website at www.ommamayoga.weebly.com.


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