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Yoga in Norway

Get grounded

When your mind is full, and your body is tense, yoga can help you to rejuvenate. Seek an escape at a simple yoga retreat in the mountains or by the fjords, or book a yoga session to get grounded in the city.

A woman, Rutt-Lovise are doing yoga, a warriors pose at Skongenes light house in Fjord Norway

Rutt-Lovise Strand in a warrior II pose at Skongenes lighthouse.

Yoga has become increasingly popular as a counterweight to our hectic and stressful everyday lives.

“Yoga is an intelligent form of movement that consists of various physical positions, breathing exercises, meditation, relaxation and being present,” says yoga instructor Rutt-Lovise Strand.

Rutt-Lovise was burnt out and had to take action. She was living in Bergen when she was first introduced to yoga and mindfulness. She became an instructor in nature yoga and moved back to her hometown of Måløy, on The Fjord Coast. Here, she and her husband run Sjøbris Adventure, which offers kayaking and yoga sessions and retreats.

“In Norway, yoga is mostly available in the big cities, but more and more people, including myself, are starting yoga studios and retreats in more rural places around the country,” explains Rutt-Lovise.

Yoga by the fjord

For Rutt-Lovise​,moving out of the city to get closer to nature has been very important. Spending time outdoors and experiencing nature has its own term in Norway: friluftsliv. Many of the things you usually do inside can be done outside too, including yoga.

“I practice and teach outdoor yoga, and I feel that nature adds an extra dimension to the physical practice. Yoga in nature, in the wind and by the waves, is very powerful. I genuinely believe that being out in nature is important to people’s health and life mastery,” says Rutt-Lovise.

Technology has made people connect more online than ever before. Despite the benefits, we sometimes need to take a step back to reflect and recuperate.

“More and more studies document the positive effect yoga has on stress relief, concentration, and focus,” says Rutt-Lovise.

There are different branches of yoga. Rutt-Lovise teaches vinyasa yoga, which is a physical practice that follows a flow of movements, such as the sun salutation. You only hold a pose for a few seconds before moving into another pose, in a continuous motion.

There are many styles of yoga. A selection of them is listed below:

Popular types of yoga 

Vinyasa yoga: Alsocalled flow yoga. Follows a continuous movement of shifting poses.

Ashtanga yoga: Follows a regular and set pattern of movements – the same all over the world.

Hatha yoga: An umbrella term. The poses are more thorough and are usually held longer than Vinyasa.

Yin yoga: Calm relaxation yoga, with a focus on flexibility and easing the joints. The same pose is held for several minutes.

Hot yoga: Follows a rigid sequence in a room with a temperature set to 30-40 degrees Celsius.

Namaste = The light in me sees the light in you.

Yoga in the mountains

Book a yoga session on your next city break or head to a place off the beaten path for a full yoga experience.

In the midst of lakes, mountains and waterfalls lies Nøsen Yoga Retreat, a mountain lodge in the Valdres region, three hours outside Oslo.

Here, you can attend yoga classes both indoors and outdoors and use the surrounding nature to practice and meditate. Breath in the fresh, crisp mountain air and feel the changing weather on your skin. In addition, the retreat serves nutritious, locally sourced vegetarian food.

“I used to practice yoga in Oslo before I got here. It’s much easier to find peace up here, away from the noise. The beautiful surroundings enable you to enjoy the nature the rest of your day. You can really unwind here,” say Joakim Herolvsen, who is a barista, cleaner, and yoga student at Nøsen Yoga.

Take a refreshing bath in the chilling mountain water or rent a SUP board or a canoe at if you crave more experiences in nature.

Yoga is also a favourite among surfers as it improves agility, strength, stability, and flexibility.

Yoga and skiing? It might be nice to know that Nøsen Yoga Retreat is only a 30 minute drive from the skiing paradise Hemsedal, if you like both skiing and yoga.

Yoga and riding? For another active alternative you can head to the mountains of Gudbrandsdalen for a horesback riding and yoga weekend. It's for both beginners and experienced riders.

The yoga philosophy

Nøsen Yoga offers different retreats, including the silent retreat, de-stress retreat, and Yin yoga retreat, as well as skiing and yoga weekends. The staff who live there full time mainly practice Ashtanga yoga.

“Ashtanga yoga is meditation by movement. We practice the same poses every day, yet every day is different. We try to find an anchor everyday, create a meaningful space,” says Eva Antonie Brozova, the general manager at the retreat.

If you ask May Rita Sætervoll, she will tell you that yoga saved her life. She was living on the streets in Oslo and taking heroin when she first came to the yoga retreat through a programme called “Back in the ring”. The programme offers yoga as a way to help people who want a new and sober start to fight drug addiction. Today, May Rita is the assistant general manager at the retreat.

“The physical practice of yoga is just a part of it, as is concentration and meditation. But behind it all there’s a philosophy, about finding the way to a worthy life,” say May Rita.

“To become better people,” adds Eva. At the end of the yoga session, they fold their hands and bow their heads to say Namaste – the light in me sees the light in you.

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