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Eastport man offers a unique yoga-hiking experience

Nicholas Mercer

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

It took Jason Parsons all of 21 days to become enamoured with the art of yoga.

In February 2017 he and his wife were in the midst of completing a 21-day retreat when something akin to a light switch went off in the head of the Eastport resident.

He started doing it daily, healing his body and formulating an idea for the future. In 2019 he began yoga teacher training virtually at Namaste Yoga Studio in Corner Brook.

There he found kindred spirits and what he calls the missing piece to the puzzle.

“They were almost like a new family to me because we were all so close and we worked together and grew,” said Parsons.

This summer, Parsons will offer tourists and residents alike the chance to have a yoga-hiking experience on the Eastport Peninsula.

Namaslay On The Go will showcase the superb hiking trails and vistas found in the region on a pay-what-you-can basis to start.

“For me, the unique tourism and the hiking trails that are here … everything came together,” said Parsons. “It was the perfect place and the perfect time.

“It felt like the stars aligned.”

He figures the longest of his hikes will be about 90 minutes, while the shortest will be 45 minutes, but that depends on the trail the group is using at the time.

Before Parsons came to Nancy Buckle at the Namaste Yoga Studio, she said, he had his yoga-hiking experience idea in his mind and was looking for the best way to make it happen.

Through the Namaste studio, he took the online 200-hour instructor program with Buckle, starting in the spring of 2019.

He knew he wanted to do something similar to what American yoga instructor Miranda Peterson was doing with her yoga-hiking experiences and bring that idea to his home region.

Over the next nine months, Buckle saw Parsons develop and grow.

“We watched him blossom over the course of the year, a lot with his confidence and his ability to start putting himself out there and believing … that he had something to offer that people would appreciate and want to be a part of,” she said. “Through his yoga practice and his training, I watched him come to a place where he felt a lot more solid and confident in being able to make it happen.”

Buckle is enthused when she sees her students stepping into the teacher role in their own yoga ventures.

“I think it is exciting what he is doing, especially right where we can’t be in the studio at the moment,” she said.

For Parsons, everything he had been planning fell into place and he is on the verge of helping others.

“From almost as soon as I joined, I figured out I wanted to do this at some capacity, both for a living and inspire, and more or less show others as best I can some forms of yoga and meditation, preferably outside,” he said.

He sees his experience growing to include hikes in other parts of the province, depending on where he is wanted or needed.

That could include teaching others to offer their own yoga experiences, while continuing to build his.

“I’m going to go where the people are,” said Parsons.

Nicholas Mercer is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Central Newfoundland for SaltWire Network.

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