With more than 4,000—yeah, 4,000—stories in the AJ archive, we thought it was a good time to pull one from the rafters, wipe off the dust, polish it with our elbow patches, and put it front and center for new readers to enjoy on our homepage. We could use a little humor this week, so laugh along with us. – Ed.
Friday morning, Melissa Fortnoy of Aurora, Colorado, slowly bent into Warrior Pose on top of Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park, and recorded the 100,000th yoga pose performed on top of the iconic sandstone formation. Her friend Jenna captured the moment with an iPhone.
“Oh, I didn’t know I was the…thousandth person? Is that what you said?” Fortnoy asked when congratulated. “Oh, hundred-thousandth. Wow. I don’t know, I just thought it would be a good Facebook profile photo.”
The arch, which sits on the edge of a thousand-foot-high cliff overlooking the desert in the Islands of the Sky District northwest of Moab, is a popular hike – a half-mile round-trip from the parking lot. Park staff would prefer hikers not walk on top of the arch, but that obviously hasn’t stopped more than 100,000 practicing yogis, and others who don’t mind the exposure to the east.
For most of the history of human habitation in the canyonlands areas, arches saw little yoga, but in 2010 a yoga teacher from Telluride created a website called arch-sanas.com, with an interactive list of rock bridges – there are more than 2,000 in Arches National Park alone – and a personal tick list for posers to check off their “summits.”
“There was a pretty steady stream after that website went up,” said Canyonlands spokesperson James McMann. “But after a smartphone app came out last year, the numbers of yoga tourists – we call them yogists – boomed.”
McMann, who was standing in front of Mesa Arch when Fortnoy took her Warrior Pose photo, said nearby Corona Arch seems to be quite popular for yoga photos as well, but it’s a three-mile round-trip hike, so it will take much longer for it to reach 100,000 yoga poses. Moab’s most famous arch, Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, doesn’t draw nearly the amount of yogists, according to McCann.
“I don’t do yoga, but I get it,” McMann said. “I mean, you come up here to this beautiful spot for a photo, and you can throw a peace sign, or jump in the air, or stand there doing nothing, or you can do…well, you can do whatever the hell that guy’s doing over there right now. What is that, the Tinkerbell?”
The Adventurey Report is almost certainly not true.
Photo: Wesley Tingey/Unsplash