The Winter Olympics start today so we’re super inspired to hit the slopes! Which is exactly why we wanted to share the importance of yoga for skiers and snowboarders. Just ask gold medalist Jamie Anderson who uses yoga to train her core and stay limber for her Slopestyle snowboarding feats! But you don’t have to be an Olympian to benefit from yoga. Your practice can help you stay focused, prevent injury, maintain strength when you’re off the mountain, and reduce soreness after a long powder day.
Try these poses this winter and channel your inner Olympian.
To Build Core Strength & Balance
Photo Credit: @Laura_Elizabeth
Skiing and snowboarding take a lot of balance and core strength. By incorporating these poses, along with other core and balancing exercises, you’ll reduce risk of injury and feel stronger throughout the season.
Chaturanga — While this pose certainly tones the upper arms, it also requires an immense amount of stability and helps develop core strength. If you’re new to Chaturanga (a yogi push-up) start by lowering your knees and as you get stronger come up to a full high plank. Either do reps moving from high to low plank as an isolated exercise or incorporate into your Vinyasas.
Boat Pose — Poses that strengthen your core are important in most sports, but in skiing and snowboarding especially, core strength enhances your stance and reduces injury. Moving slowly from high to low boat will build that inner fire in your abdominal muscles!
Tree Pose — Skiing requires the transfer of weight from one foot to the other. Practicing poses like Tree mimics this transfer of weight and builds strength in the ankles and feet.
For Lower Body Stability
Photo Credit: @spanishyogagirl
Anyone who’s gone skiing or snowboarding for the first time in awhile can attest to the sore leg muscles that follow the next day. To minimize the soreness, work on strengthening your lower body, with a focus on your quads and hamstrings.
Crescent Lunge — Deep knee flexion, either on the mountain or in the studio, helps strengthen the quad muscles. This pose also offers a nice stretch in the opposite leg’s hip flexor!
Warrior 2 — Similar to Crescent Lunge, Warrior 2 also strengthens and increases stability in the legs. Warrior 2 features more open hips so you’ll find a stretch in the hip and inner thighs.
Chair Pose — Chair pose is probably the most similar pose you’ll find in yoga to the movement in skiing and snowboarding. Work on sitting low while lifting your chest and make sure your core stays engaged!
For Restoration & Mobility
Photo Credit: @kellymarie_yoga
That soreness from a great day on the slopes can be cured by some relaxing yoga poses (and maybe a good hot tub sesh). Try these poses to stretch out your body and restore so you can get back out there tomorrow!
Forward Fold or Rag Doll — Feeling your hammies after all that hard work? Try some gentle forward folds to release the lower back and stretch your hamstrings. If you’re extra tight, make sure to give your knees a bit of a bend!
Thread the Needle — Give your hips some love with this variation of a reclined half pigeon pose. Cross one ankle over the opposite thigh to stretch out your hip and glute muscles. To deepen the stretch, reach your tailbone closer to your mat.
Legs up the Wall — Give your legs a total reset by sending them up a wall. Stay for as long as you like (or until your toes start to tingle). This gentle inversion is a great way to switch the flow of energy in your body and give your legs a break!
Before you hit the slopes, go ahead and roll out your mat. Don’t forget to wear your amazing new YogaClub activewear!
About the author:
Lindsay is the Director of Partnerships & Brand Experience at YogaClub, a ERYT-200 yoga teacher, former collegiate swimmer, marathon runner and fitness blogger. Her running adventures have taken her to 13 marathons (and more half marathons than she can count!), including a recent Boston Qualifying time (BQ). Lindsay catalogues her fitness adventures and stories from the road on her blog, Loving Life on the Run.