Skiing, both nordic and alpine, require an insane amount of muscular strength and mental focus. By incorporating yoga between ski days, you can not only maximize your ski potential, but relieve the tension in sore muscles from a long day hitting the powder.
Laura Collins, Snow Mountain Ranch’s resident yoga instructor and avid skier, has put together the top seven yoga poses for skiers. “As an alpine skier, I truly understand how yoga correlates ski recovery and performance,” Laura says.
Yoga enhances “full body awareness,” connecting the physical with the mental and spiritual. It also allows you to tune into your limitations and work gracefully within them. By continually exploring your body’s abilities, you can continue to grow an get stronger in all disciplines, including skiing.
1. Tree- Vrksasana
Balance is essential for both alpine and cross country skiing and tree pose is a great beginning stance to test stability. Not only are you building muscle memory in the core and ankle, but you’re also stretching the groin and inner thigh. Test your balance by raising the arms above the head, extending one leg or closing the eyes.
2. Warrior II- Virabhadrasana II
Holding warrior two increases muscular endurance in the quads, inner-thighs and ankles. Maintaining balance while keeping the knees at a 90-degree angle builds ski stamina for the toughest runs.
3. Chair- Utkatasana
Few yoga poses are related to skiing as much as chair pose. Keeping your focus on having the feet together with bent knees mimics parallel ski position. Remember to engage the feet by digging the toes into the ground
4. Seated Forward Bend- Paschimottanasana
Stretching and bringing awareness to the hamstrings and calve muscles that are essential for ski control. Always strive for good spine alignment, keeping a straight spine and relaxing the neck muscles. Engaging the quads deepens the stretch through the back of the legs.
5. Side Plank- Vasisthasana
Digging into the snow with your poles calls for shoulder, abdominal and wrist strength. Side planks are perfect to build the upper-body strength that many skiers neglect. Remember to keep the body in complete alignment, from feet to forehead. Abdominals engaged and never sink into the shoulder socket.
6. Pigeon- Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
Skiers are often plagued with tight hips. Pigeon is a fantastic hip opener to give relief to the hip flexors and deep gluteals. Be careful to keep the hips on the same plane and watch for any tension in the front knee.
7. Down Down and Walk the dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana
A revitalizing, energizing way to reconnect with your body after a long day of the slopes. Feel the tension in your back and shoulders melt away with this circulation boosting pose. Since down dog stretches your legs and arms at the same time, it is an great way to focus and breath into sore spots. Take the “dog for a walk” by shifting weight from heel to heel while in down dog position to get deep into the achilles and soleus muscle.
Come put these tips into practice at one of Laura’s yoga classes at Snow Mountain Ranch. Visit the program bulletin for this week’s class schedule.