On the Trail of Mindfulness
Doris Greil will take you on a yoga hike along ancient pilgrim routes to sacred healing sites in the Mostviertel region.
Reading time: 10 minutes
"I was always on the lookout for something 'more' in life."
“Anyone who sets out on the Camino de Santiago and consciously decides to walk for a whole month at a stretch will experience what can unfold in that time.”
“The soul can only travel as fast as you walk” – a saying with a clear message, yet often hard for busy people to grasp. Indeed, for Doris Greil, this maxim has come to serve as her holistic philosophy of life. One which she has always remained true to, even in the face of doubt, though at times with a fair degree of scepticism. Born and raised in 1980s rural Mostviertel, as a teenager she longed for a more exhilarating life in vibrant cities which never go to sleep. A dream which, says Doris today, thankfully never came true. It was a pilgramage along the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) that was responsible for her change of heart and prompted her to redefine her goals: always on the lookout for something 'more' in life, she said goodbye to her family, friends and employer for a month in 2015 in order to embark on a journey of self-discovery along the famous pilgrim route to the city of Santiago di Compostela. It was here, far away from home and her hectic workaday life, that she was able to refocus her thoughts. Here was where she learnt to listen to her spirit and follow her true destiny.
Following the Path of Life
“Anyone who sets out on the Camino de Santiago and consciously decides to walk for a whole month at a stretch will experience what can unfold in that time.” She saw it as a kind of meditation, a means of finding her way back to her primal sense of faith and a way of appreciating that many episodes in life – even if you don’t always grasp them for what they are at the moment – often make sense in the end. “A lot of people compare the trip to a sort of life journey, and some who I've shared a part of the journey with have made that time incredibly rewarding.” The day-to-day impressions she gained there filled her with a feeling of contentment and happiness. “And then to keep those feelings inside and take them with you, that's where the real art lies.” Back home, she quickly realized that walking, far from being solely a holiday activity, had become both an integral part of her life and her soul. So she proceeded to combine this realization with her career.
"I lead my groups to exceptional and often little-known sites and energy spots in the Mostviertel region."
Connecting Two Passions
Doris first encountered yoga practices back in 2003 and has been fascinated by its philosophy and approach to life ever since. So six years later she decided to attend a yoga instructor training course in Vienna. Since then she has been teaching hatha yoga in Petzenkirchen and Scheibbs and founded her yoga school “Yoga verbindet” (Yoga connects). Thanks to her passion for hiking, which she discovered on the Camino de Santiago, her yoga students now benefit from a unique program which combines nature, hiking and yoga. “After my journey and the truly life-changing experiences on the Camino de Santiago, I decided to combine my two great passions: hiking and yoga. People are super enthusiastic about the offer and the feedback from participants is fantastic.”
Downtime at the Trailside
Whether on the summit of Vogelsberg near Randegg, hiking on the Runzelberg trail near Reinsberg with a spectacular view of Mount Ötscher, at sacred sites such as monasteries and churches, or at cultural landmarks such as springs or stone circles –- Doris leads her groups to exceptional and often little-known sites and energy spots in the Mostviertel region. “We’re simply a part of nature. And we can allow ourselves to feel this holistically, experiencing the spirituality of the elements, noticing and appreciating the simple things again. Like a warm summer wind, or the unexpected pleasure of raindrops falling on you while you're hiking. The feeling of ice-cold water on your skin when we take a break to cool our tired feet in a bubbling stream. Or the pungent smell of the forest and the uplifting sight of blooming alpine meadows in spring and summer. During a yoga hike, all these experiences are welcomed and allowed to be. Even things that you don’t want in your life. What's important is that while you're walking, you practice giving more space to positive thoughts.” These are the thoughts she wishes to pass on to all those who join her on the trail. Combined with individual exercises performed right at the trailside, she and her hiking groups create “miniature oases, a little time-out from the fast pace of everyday life.”
Opening Your Eyes to Life’s Opportunities
“I've certainly got around a bit as travelling was a big part of my previous job, and I've always found bustling cities and foreign countries appealing, so the sheer novelty of it all was super exciting. But one day, after a language course in London, I realized that I had reached a point where I didn't want to live this way anymore. Today, I still love travelling and expanding my horizons, but I have come to appreciate immensely the beautiful region where I’m privileged to live and work. From my point of view, the Mostviertel has undergone extraordinary growth in recent years: You no longer feel so out of touch with the world, even as a young or young-at-heart person. For instance, today you can find fantastic restaurants along many hiking trails that feature the region's amazing products in a very modern style. Or there’s the many recreational options: For me, the nicest thing is knowing that I always have my hiking boots with me and can just hit the trail whenever the feeling strikes, as there are marked paths in practically every village. That feeling of effortlessness, that a single step will take you out in nature to start a fresh adventure, that's what I want to share with others.” Sometimes it just takes a nudge, hints Doris. “What's important is that you see the many opportunities that living with nature opens up to you, that you recognize and enjoy the fullness of life and make your personal journey as pleasant as possible. That's what our body, our breath, and our spirit are for – to get back in touch with ourselves. To ultimately be able to say: It's been a beautiful time here.”
About the Person
Yoga Connects People, likewise Hiking
Doris Greil has been teaching yoga in Petzenkirchen and Scheibbs in the Mostviertel region since 2009. For some years now, she has also combined simple yoga exercises with specially planned hikes at all levels of difficulty – for a healthy body and to balance out our performance-oriented, stressful professional lives. No previous knowledge of yoga hiking is necessary, but hiking shoes are a must!
Phone: +43 650 4855865
Petzenkirchen Castle, Pollnbergstraße 1, 3252 Petzenkirchen
Fire station, Wertheimgasse 7, 3270 Scheibbs/Neustift
Text: Sabine Ertl
Translated by: Theodore Snydal
Video and photos: Daniel Gollner