Tennessee State Park Official Visitdors Guide

Sessions part of state’s ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy Person’ program

ROAN MOUNTAIN — The majestic beauty and peacefulness that surrounds Roan Mountain State Park has long been great medicine for people seeking relief from the hectic modern world.

Now, Ranger Marcianne O’Day said the park is providing another healthy addition to the mix — new yoga programs.

“Tennessee State Parks has had a program going on for a few years that folks might not know about. In a nutshell, to encourage the public to enjoy the wellness benefits of parks more, Tennessee State Parks has an app-based rewards program called ‘Healthy Parks, Healthy Person,’ ’’ O’Day said.

“Visitors can check into parks using the app and engage in various activities to earn points. Over time, they can redeem these points for rewards like cabin stays, personalized hike experiences, and items from park gift shops. Inspired by that initiative, we want to offer more wellness-oriented programs here to help our guests get away for a bit, reduce stress, and take care of themselves during this unprecedented time,” she said.

To top it off, program participants will be able to use the app to get more points.

The park will be offering a program Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb 26-28. It’s a series of workshops on mediation and yoga. The program will be led by Wendy Smith.

O’Day said, “Wendy has been a big hit at a number of our sister parks, including the Cumberland Trail and Cordell Hull Birthplace State Park, and she was the yoga instructor for the Bicycle Ride Across Tennessee for a time.”

O’Day said Smith’s programs have always been appreciated. “We thought bringing her to Roan Mountain would be a great opportunity for us all to unwind and move into the spring.”

The workshops are $12 per person and include either a forest mediation or a guided mediation prior to the yoga. O’Day promised that “if people really like them, we will put more on the calendar.”

O’Day said some have asked how social distancing will be achieved with the programs. She said the programs will take place at the conference center, which has a lot of space. She said participants will be limited to 10 and protective masks will be required.

The courses being offered this weekend are:

• Fireside Meditation & Yoga (offered Friday, Feb. 26, and Saturday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.)

The fireside yoga session will begin with a 15-minute guided meditation to calm our souls and set our intentions, followed by a slow, rhythmic sequence to ground and center our energy, relax our bodies and minds, and help us move with purpose toward spring renewal.

This sequence is suitable for yogis of all levels (even those who are new) and Smith will teach modifications to assist those with limited mobility.

• Forest Meditation & Heart-Centered Yoga (offered Saturday, Feb. 27, and Sunday, Feb. 28, at 10 a.m.)

Heart-centered yoga is a series of gentle poses to open our hearts, release tension, and prepare us to walk in love.

This sequence is also suitable for yogis of all levels (even those who are new) and Smith will teach modifications to assist those with limited mobility.

This session includes an optional silent forest meditation which starts at 9 a.m. It’s a moderate 1.6-mile silent walk in the forest, prefaced by some instruction on mindfulness techniques and staying in the present.