UncategorizedThe Benefits of Yoga on Snow-sports

The Benefits of Yoga on Snow-sports

Are you sick of the constant aches after a week shredding? Are you always picking up new injuries? Can you no longer concentrate on your performance like you used to?

Well, I have a solution, and one that many athletes out there will agree with.

YOGA

It is a well-known fact that yoga has massive benefits for YOU.

For those of you that don’t know the ins and outs of yoga, it is a low-impact physical activity that consists of holding your body in a lot of weird and wonderful positions.

Why? What’s the point in that?! Read on to find out why you should start yoga and the benefits it will have on your sporting life!

Injury Prevention and Recovery

Imagine a life of sport with minimal or no injuries – isn’t that just the dream!

Too often I hear the famous words, “I don’t need to warm up”, well listen buddy you do. In the future when you’re only 30 and your knees have given in, well, that’s on you.

People quite often underestimate how much physical effort goes into snowsports, and don’t forget the various types of movements we must inhabit in order to get down the slope in one piece.

By performing yoga on the regular, this will help open up your muscles, meaning you will be less likely to overuse them when tearing up the slopes.

Yoga is also brilliant for healing your muscles as it helps to increase your blood circulation, and blood contains healing nutrients needed to repair the damaged tissue.

Remember, ESPECIALLY on those really cold days, to warm up before your first lap – you will thank me in the long run!

Balance

How often do you see people wobbling all over the show and wonder how on earth did they manage to get down in one piece ha!

For you wobblers out there, yoga is the key – it is fantastic for your core and a strong core is key for great balance.

When performing yoga, you’re constantly moving in and out of different poses before holding them whilst supporting your own body weight. Obviously we want to look stylish in the transition between poses, so your balance is really put to the test. At first it will be a struggle, like all things, but with time your strength and balance will increase.

Constantly switching poses will also prepare you for those busy, weave in and out of everyone, kinda days – your body is always moving to adjust to the next turn and the many surprises the terrain has to offer along the way.

Trust me, if you take up yoga you will most likely find that you enjoy your holiday a lot more, mainly because you’ll spend more time on your feet!

Builds Flexibility

You will notice after a week’s shred that your knees and hips have taken the toll the hardest, unless of course you’re a snowboarder and spend half your time on your backside!

Although you don’t need to have the best flexibility in order to ski or snowboard, if you want to become an exceptional athlete in your discipline, then improved flexibility becomes a necessity. I have quite often seen instructors trying to progress through the ranks but are blocked physically due to their fitness and flexibility.

If you really want to improve your performance, then I would highly recommend taking up yoga. As I mentioned above, yoga helps open your muscles by making you stretch further than you may not have done before. Over time this will improve your flexibility and increase your range of motion.

You will find it so much easier to put your body into positions that will enable you to hit that high standard of shredding. A flexible body can also take a big impact better than a tight muscled one, so when you’re jumping in and out of the mogul field your body will be less likely to tense up when the bump gets the better of you.

Better Concentration

Don’t get me wrong, when it’s 2pm and all you can hear is the Après, my mind isn’t on the skiing either – get me to the BAR!

What about the rest of the day though, can you keep your concentration on the set activity you are doing? If not, you won’t believe me when I say this, but yoga can help!

Yoga is a useful tool people use to better their breathing control. The reason behind this is that yoga can improve your posture, which will aid better breathing and also requires you to control when you breath in and out.

Having the ability to control your breath enables you to bring your awareness into the present moment, which in turn will allow you to control your thoughts and actions.

Imagine being in the park eying up the next rail or at the top of a bumps run getting ready to drop in, the usual thoughts are “what if I stack it?”, “what if I pick the wrong line?”, “what if….”.

Enough with negative Nancy in your head – yoga will help kick her out and make you more focused on the day. When you’re jibbing through the bumps your mind and body will be working as one – honestly, you will be surprised at how much your performance shoots up!

Breaking habits

Do you ever wake up in the morning and think “ergh, I cba!”, and I don’t mean after a 4am jobber on the town, because I know the answer there!

If that sounds like you, yet you want to find that ‘umph’ again, yoga could be your best friend.

We appreciate your daily lives may be packed with work and other responsibilities, and we can hazard a guess that it may be quite repetitive as well?

It’s very easy to become set in your ways, but it’s not good for you if there is no enjoyment to be had. After a while, you may start to lose all the motivation and enthusiasm you once had, for stuff you used to love doing.

Well, why not set aside 30-60 minutes a day to turn on your classical playlist and have a crack at a few poses – if you’re not the classical type of person, anything chilled will do!

Performing yoga once a day will break that repetitive cycle you’re stuck in and let you experience something new. You may be surprised at how energising it can be. You will have the energy to hit up the slopes again, but also to achieve your personal goals.

This is hugely beneficial in snowsports, as you will have that desire to increase your ability and explore the whole mountain – who actually wants to be stuck on the blue runs all holiday?! Boringgg!

If you need any inspo to get you started, take a look at one of our young athletes absolutely nailing a few of our favourite poses.

Adho Mukha Svanasana Pose – Also known as the Downward Facing Dog

The stick your bum in the air like you just don’t care po… no? Okay.

To perform this pose you want to:

  • Start on all fours with your hands slightly in front of your shoulders, fingers facing forward and shoulder width apart,
  • Straighten your knees and push your bum into the air to create an upside-down V shape,
  • Keep your back completely straight and try and keep your feet flat on the ground,
  • Hold,
  • To release the pose, simply bend your knees forward until you are back on all fours.

Pose hold time: 60 seconds

Utkatasana Pose – Also known as the Chair Pose

To perform this pose you want to:

  • Start by standing up straight, feet a couple of centimetres apart,
  • Raise your arms straight up above your head and clasp your hands together (palms facing in),
  • Shift your weight back onto your heals and begin to sit down on that imaginary chair,
  • Keep your knees together rather than out like you would when performing a squat,
  • Keep your back straight with your arms in line (as shown in the pic),
  • Hold.

Pose hold time: 60 seconds

Virabhadrasana I Pose – Also know as the Warrior Pose 1

To perform this pose you want to:

  • Split your feet roughly 4 feet apart,
  • Rotate your left foot 90 degrees so that it is facing to the side (as shown by our athlete),
  • Raise your arms straight up above your head and clasp your hands together (palms facing in),
  • Rotate your upper body so it is facing over your left foot,
  • Bend your left leg to create a 90 degree angle,
  • Keep your back straight with your arms in line (pointing to the sky),
  • Hold,
  • To release the pose, simply extend your left leg and bring your upper body back facing forward,
  • Repeat the opposite way.

Pose hold time: 60 seconds

Virabhadrasana III Pose – Also known as the Warrior Pose 3

To perform this pose you want to:

  • Stand up straight with your feet together,
  • Keep your back straight and bend forwards at the hips so that your body is parallel to the floor,
  • Reach your hands out in front of your head as so that they are in line with your upper body (as shown above),
  • Balance on your left foot and lift your right leg up behind so that it is in line with your upper body,
  • Your aim is to create a T shape.  However, this may take time to perfect as you increase your flexibility,
  • Hold,
  • To release the pose, simply bring your right leg back down before standing up straight,
  • Repeat the opposite way.

Pose hold time: 60 seconds

Bhujangasana Pose – Also known as the Cobra Pose

To perform this pose you want to:

  • Start by lying on your stomach, we would suggest having your feet hip width apart but if it’s more comfortable, you can keep your feet together,
  • Place your hands just underneath your shoulders, fingers facing forwards,
  • Keeping your elbows close to your body, push yourself up whilst keeping your hips on the ground to arch your back,
  • Draw your shoulder blades back and down to open up your chest,
  • Hold.

Pose hold time: 60 seconds

All it takes is one session to introduce you into the world of yoga. Don’t sit on it thinking you’ll start tomorrow, there is no better time than now – your body will thank you for it!

If you’ve got a minute, make sure you take some pics and be sure to tag us, we would love to see if you can hold the poses as well as our athlete!

Ski ya later!

The Chieftain

Please note that the Chieftain is not a yoga instructor and is only trying to promote yoga by explaining what works best for him.

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