SLOAN! asked yoga expert Michelle King, founder and Director of Adventure Yogi, for her insights into how yoga can provide health & fitness benefits to those heading to the slopes this ski season.
Yoga and skiing can seem like total opposites; the exhilaration of shooting down the mountain slopes compared to the restorative and slow-paced practice of yoga… you may ask yourself what they have in common. However, when fused together, they complement each other, bringing a balance and greatly improving your practice – on both your mat and the slopes.
When you incorporate a daily yoga practice into your skiing holiday, you give your body a chance to recover each day; strengthening and awakening muscles in the morning and restoratively stretching them in the evening. In particular, the core engagement and strengthening of the legs is a huge benefit for a skier – who doesn’t want a solid centre of gravity?! Many people find that when they partake in a regular yoga practice, they also have more energy and vitality for their time on the slopes – it’s a win/win!
Not only is there the physical aspect of yoga to consider, but the meditative side, too. One technique that has many benefits is Pranayama, aka Alternate Nostril Breathing. This breathing technique not only calms both mind and body; it actually helps to keep the body hydrated – something that many people overlook in high altitudes. One of the common signs of dehydration in high altitudes is yawning. If you find yourself doing this, you’re probably dehydrated!
Below we’ve listed our 9 favourite yoga poses (and their benefits) that skiers can integrate into their holiday. It’s really worth it, trust us! *
Extended hand to big toe pose
Benefits: This pose really puts a fire into the legs as well as engaging the core. The extension of the leg also gives a great hamstring and inner thigh stretch.
Benefits: A classic pose, known for its rooting and grounding effects. The engagement of the legs is also a great warm up for your ski sessions.
Benefits: This pose is one of our favourites; it engages the quads and you can lift onto the tiptoes for a calf release. You can also put a twist into this pose, which opens the chest and lower back.
Benefits: This pose releases the psoas as well as opening the chest. This is particularly beneficial for opening the lungs in the high-altitude environment.
Benefits: Low lunges, high lunges, crescent lunges…we love them all! They stretch the psoas, strengthen the legs and improve balance.
Warrior 1, 2 & 3
Benefits: When practiced correctly, the warrior poses work every muscle you’ve got. From your arms and shoulders, to your hips and glutes, and all the way down your legs. The perfect warm up for a skier!
Downward facing dog
Benefits: Downward facing dog is an old faithful; it’s restorative for the mind and body, as well as providing a gentle stretch down the spine. This is a great pose to hang out in.
Fire log pose
Benefits: This pose can be done sitting on the floor, on a chair or standing. Standing provides the most benefit when looking to improve your balance. Fire log pose is a wonderful hip opener.
Reclining Hero Pose
Benefits: This pose may be difficult to get in to for some, but it’s benefits are worth it! It stretches tired hip flexors and quad muscles, lengthens the abdomen and gives the knees a good warm up.
And there you have it! The perfect tools at your fingertips to improve your skiing holiday (and your mental and physical health, too!)
If you like the sound of combining skiing with yoga, you’ll love AdventureYogi’s holidays to the French Alps, where they’ve headed every year since 2007 to have some fun and adventure! Check it out: https://www.adventureyogi.com/yoga-retreats-holidays/snowsports-and-yoga-france
* Make sure you only practice these poses in a safe environment under instruction, so as to avoid injury.