When I think of Yoga, meditation, and winter snow sports, the first professional athlete that comes to mind is definitely Jamie Anderson. Jamie often speaks about these two practices when asked about what she does in preparation for her sport of professional snowboarding. We all know that whatever Jamie is doing to prepare works very well. Let’s see how we can incorporate Yoga and Meditation into our own routine in order to be a little more like Jamie.
In a recent article written by Fiona Best at maddogski.com, she includes a list of suggested poses that all skiers and snowboarders should try. Yoga instructors and hardcore skiers Tim and Shannon over at The Yoga Tonic have come up with this list of 6 poses. If you are unsure how to practice them properly, I’ve included links to instruction as well.
- Pre-season: Chair Pose – Strengthens quads, glutes, and calves
- Pre-season: Half Moon Pose – Strengthens standing leg and ankle, whilst engaging abdomen and glutes
- Pre-season: Twisted High Lunge – Quad, hamstrings and core are strengthened as a stable balance is maintained.
- Before (and after) Skiing: Downward Dog – Arms and legs are strengthened as weight is distributed equally through palms and heels.
- Before Skiing: Dancer Pose – Standing leg and ankle are strengthened, whilst also focusing on balance.
- Post Skiing: Spinal Twist – Enables a spinal twist after a day’s skiing when you may want a gentle stretch.
Strength, Balance, and Flexibility are always good attributes to have for skiers and snowboarders. If Yoga can give us the best chance of painting that picture in our minds to the canvass of fresh snow, then this practice is certainly worth giving a whirl. It surely can’t hurt!
As I approach each upcoming ski season, I consistently dread preparation in the form of physical conditioning. I dread working out in the confined space of my local gym. The best part about practicing Yoga is that it can be done literally anywhere. Many yogis practice on the beach, at the end of a long hike at their favorite vista, or in the comfort of their own home when the weather doesn’t allow for such royalty. This woman pictured above most definitely has her venue figured out for sure!
While yoga focuses more on the body, and its awareness, meditation focuses more on wakefulness when in the mountains. Being mentally awake and aware of your surroundings, or your “mental awareness” plays a major role in your overall mountain experience for those of us that choose to “push the limits” while skiing or riding. Mindfulness is a HUGE deal when negotiating that next turn or mandatory air at the spur of a moment! According to Wikipedia, Meditation is defined as “a practice where an individual uses a technique – such as mindfulness or focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity – to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.” There are many free guided meditations available online to get you started, or you may choose to do so on your own.
Let’s be more like Jamie, and other professional skiers and riders, who choose to elevate their mountain experience by using these two practices on the daily! A lot like NFL football players use ballet to elevate their skill set, yoga and meditation can certainly elevate your next day in the mountains!