If you enjoy skiing or snowboarding, practising yoga can drastically improve your on-slope fitness. Targeting the muscles used for skiing-specific movement, the exercise compares to lifting weights, running and mountain biking. According to yogi and professional skier, Leslie Ross, yoga can benefit skiers by bettering their balance and stability and boost injury prevention through increasing strength, stamina and flexibility. In this article, we explore the best yoga poses for skiing and snowboarding. Before getting started, be sure to pick up a comfortable pair of yoga shorts.
Low Lunge is a great way to strengthen the legs. Additionally, the posture opens up the hips and quadriceps. To practice the asana, begin standing tall. Step your right leg forward and lift your hips up and back until they sit over your left knee. Next, raise both arms up and press your hips down until you feel the muscles engage. You should feel a stretch in your outer hip of your left leg. You are in Low Lunge. Hold the asana for 30 seconds before repeating on the other side.
Ideal for warming the legs, hips, and shoulders, practice Warrior II before hitting the slopes. To practice the asana, begin standing tall. With your right leg, take a big step forward while keeping both your legs straight. Next, turn your left foot out 90 degrees and your right foot in 45 degrees. Finally, bend your right knee and stretch both arms out to the sides. You are in Warrior Two. Hold the asana for 30 seconds before switching sides.
Replicating the skiing position almost exactly, it’s no surprise the Chair Pose is beneficial. For best results, hold the posture for an extended duration and add a twist to the left and right. Starting with your feet hip distance apart, pull them together and then apart to wake the abductor and adductor muscles in the legs.
To practice the asana, stand tall with your big toes touching. Inhale deeply and raise your arms above your head with your fingertips pointing towards the ceiling. Lengthen your neck and draw both your shoulders back. Exhale and bend your knees to lower your bottom down and back – much like you would when sitting on a chair. To avoid injury, do not let your knees extend past your toes. With each breath in, lengthen your spine a little more. With each exhale, lower your bottom to deepen the stretch. You are in Chair Pose. For best results, keep your abs engaged and your thighs touching throughout. Hold the asana for around 1 minute whilst breathing deeply.
Forward Bend is great for relieving tightness in your back and legs. For full flexibility on the slopes, practice this posture while waiting in the lift line. To practice the asana, begin standing with your feet below your hips. Hinge at the waist and lower your upper body toward the floor. To minimise pressure on the lower back, bend your knees generously throughout the pose. Finally, take hold of your ankles and let your body hand naturally towards the mat. You are in Forward Fold. Hold the asana for around 30 seconds. To increase the stretch, gently sway your torso from side to side.
Pigeon Pose can aid injury prevention by increasing flexibility. Additionally, the pose increases circulation and boosts your energy levels. Practice after a full day on the slopes to open the hip flexors and stretch the thighs and shoulders. To practice the asana, stand tall with your feet together. Next, bend at the waist and lower your torso forward until you can touch your hands on the mat. Your body should now form a triangle. From this position, extend your right leg behind you. Bring your right knee to your right wrist and move your foot to touch your left wrist. At this state, your shin should be perpendicular to the front edge of your mat. You are in Pigeon Pose. Hold the asana for 30 seconds before switching sides.
When you ski or snowboard, your balance constantly shifts as you move across the snow. Warrior I builds the strength and concentration required to maintain balance on the slopes. To practice the asana, begin standing tall on the mat. Take a big step forward with your right leg, whilst keeping your left leg straight. Next, bend your right leg and stretch your right leg out behind you, keeping your toes touching the mat. Finally, roll your shoulders back and lift arms above your head. You are in Warrior I. Hold the asana for 1 minute before switching sides.
When skiing or snowboarding, core strength is essential for maintaining balance. Boat Pose strengthens the abs, hip flexors, and spinal extensors while challenging you to stay balanced. To practice the asana, sit down on the floor with your legs out in front of you. Next, place your hands on the mat just a little behind your hips with your fingertips are pointing towards your feet. Press your palms into the ground and strengthen your arms. Keeping your back straight, gently lean back and lift your feet off the ground. Your shins should now be parallel to the floor. As you lift your chest, lengthen the front of your torso. Finally, extend both arms forward until they are in line with your shoulders. You are in Boat Pose. Hold the pose for 30 seconds whilst breathing deeply. For best results, draw your chin into your chest throughout the pose.
Whether you’re a professional skier or a snowboarding novice, practice the postures above to improve your on-slope fitness. If you’re practising at home, make sure you’ve got the right equipment before getting started. In the colder weather, practising in a long-sleeved yoga top will keep your body warm.