On my last ski trip, I regretfully have to say that I did not practice yoga while there. However, while I was in my beginners ski class the ski instructor asked me if I played sports. I said, “No, but I do yoga” and he said, “You yoga people! You’re all naturals!” I was pretty happy that he thought I was a natural! And I really do believe that yoga helped me with my balance on the slopes. Of course, I took another ski lesson this trip. This time my ski instructor, Bill said that he does yoga himself and that it “promotes a body awareness that is very important on the slopes.”
This time, I came across a Yoga Journal article about “Yoga for snow sports” and of course, wanted to try it and tell you about my “snowga” experience!
With this being my second ski trip ever I was willing to try anything to keep me from breaking bones, tearing muscles, or, ya know, running into trees… especially if it involves yoga.
Warm up before you Fly down… I didn’t take pics this time (sorry for my slacking!) so click on the name of the pose and it will take you a detailed explanation of the pose courtesy of Yoga Journal. I did, however, take a picture of my feet:
Early morning yoga before hitting the slopes…
- Tadasana (mountain pose)… cultivates internal focus and awareness of body alignment.
- Utkatasana (chair pose)… Strengthens quads, glutes, and calves and promotes ankle flexion.
- Virabhadrasana I (warrior I)… Opens the chest and builds strength in the lower body.
- Virabhadrasana III (warrior III)… Promotes balance and strengthens core muscles.
“Utkatasana (chair pose) is essential. It gets the lower body comfortable with the bent-knee, flexed-ankle position that is the downhill skier’s default stance. And it strengthens the quads so they can protect the knees.” ~Anne Anderson, certified professional ski instructor and Kripalu-trained yoga teacher
Me & Darren at 12,000 feet
Poses that Hurt so Good after a few days on the slopes… These are poses that I practiced every morning to ease my aching muscles!
- Gomukhasana arms (cow face pose)… stretches the shoulders and triceps
- Virasana (hero pose)… stretches the quads and promotes strength and flexibility in the knees
- Adho Mukha Svanasana (down dog)… stretches hamstrings and calves
- Neck rolls… because they feel so good! Sit in Sukhasana (easy pose) and roll your neck how ever feels good!
- Anjaneyasana (low lunge)… stretches the hips
- Padangusthasana (big toe pose)… Stretches the hamstrings. Bend one knee at a time to stretch one leg at a time and just hang if you can’t reach your toes (ragdoll)
I had one fall on the slopes where I twisted my knee and I had an “ah-ha” moment. I am quite positive that if I didn’t stretch and strengthen my knees and legs that I could have seriously hurt my knee in that moment. So my conclusion is… snowga works!