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LUV BLOG

YOGA POSES FOR SKIERS

YOGA POSES FOR SKIERS

The ski season is in full swing and if you’ve already had a few weekends in the mountains, your body might be feeling it!

Adding yoga to your routine can be a great way to both enhance your skiing and to stretch out your body in order to find some relief after a long day on the slopes.

Yoga can help to build your core strength - which will help relieve pressure on your knees, support your spine, and improve both your balance and your turns. On top of this, it can help to stretch your legs, mobilize your hips and loosen up any areas of tension that you might have accumulated from gripping muscles, especially out in the cold.

Try these poses, taking time to settle into each one with a few long, smooth, even rounds of breath through the nose:

Bird-Dog

This exercise will help to improve your balance and build strength in your back and core.

Start in tabletop/all fours: hands under shoulders with fingers spread wide, knees under hips. Stabilize the arms into the shoulder socket (that is, don’t push the floor away so much that your back rounds) and then lift the left arm up parallel to the floor, alongside the left ear, while also raising the opposite (right) leg parallel to the floor.

Push out through the heel of the right foot. Pull in from the navel but don’t allow the back to round. Inhale here, and as you exhale bring the left elbow and the right knee to meet under the belly. Inhale to extend long before repeating.

Do five sets before repeating on the other side.

Downward Facing Dog / Adho Mukha Svanasana

The all-rounder pose. Down dog strengthens your ankles and stretches out the back body while building strength in your core.

From tabletop position, stabilize the arms in the shoulder socket before lifting the hips up towards the sky. Keep the hands planted firmly into the floor (especially in the base of the index finger and thumb) with fingers spread out wide. Your heels do not need to reach the floor! Make sure your stance is fairly wide - you should be able to come forward into a plank without moving your hands, and without shifting your feet back too much (incidentally this is also a great core-strength exercise).

You can find more information and detailed instructions on the Yoga Journal site by clicking here

Warrior I / Virabhadrasana I 

This strong standing pose stretches the muscles in the back leg while strengthening those in the front. It’s also a lovely hip flexor stretch.

Facing the front of your mat, step back with your right foot and plant it at a 45 degree angle. Bend into the front knee, only so far as the knee stacks on top of the ankle. Keep the stance short enough that the hips stay square to the front of your mat, rather than opening out to the right. Arms are traditionally above the head to stretch the chest, but you can also bring your hands together in front of your heart if that’s more comfortable on the shoulders.

Repeat on the other side.

More information and instructions here.

Chair / Utkatasana

A great leg strengthener, chair pose is an obvious skiers’ pose!

Stand with feet hip distance apart, and then bend your knees and sit back as if into an imaginary chair while keeping your chest lifted. You should be able to see your toes, so make sure you’re not bending too deeply into the knees. Arms can be alongside the ears or parallel to the floor.

More information and instructions here.

Bound Angle / Baddha Konasana

A lovely groin stretch, this hip opener feels great on tight hips.

Sitting up straight, bring the feet together (soles touching) and allow the knees to fall out to the sides. Bring the feet as close to the pelvis as is comfortable, but never force the knees down - simply allow the thighs to melt down towards the floor to the extent that is comfortable. You can use blankets or pillows to prop them up, too. Don’t force anything - this will just harden the groins instead of stretching and softening them.

More information and instructions here.

Supine Twist

Supine Twist Twists are delicious for the spine, improving spinal mobility and giving the glutes a gentle stretch, too.

Lie flat on your back with legs outstretched. Bring your right foot onto your left knee and then allow the right knee to fall towards the left side of the body, gently twisting your lower body to the left. Keep the right shoulder on the floor with the arm in a t-shape. The gaze can be over the right shoulder if that’s comfortable, and you can put gentle pressure onto the right thigh (but avoid the knee) if that feels good.

Repeat on the other side.