Yoga and skiing: Opposite but complementary

Yoga

Skiing is fast-paced and involves taking risks, while yoga is slow and mindful. But despite their differences, these sports’ physical requirements complement each other.

The notion of physical and mental alignment

  • Feet are set at the same width as the shoulders, like in Tadasana (Mountain Pose);
  • Knees are aligned with the toes, and the pelvis is tilted slightly forward: that’s Utkatasana (Chair Pose);
  • Shoulders are relaxed, as in Tadasana.

Anchoring, stability and balance are the three foundations of a good yoga posture, just like in skiing. In addition, the quality of the breath and breathing helps to reduce adrenaline flow and send oxygen to our muscles.

Pre-ski exercises

Most of us start a day’s skiing without any warm-up. This means our muscles are cold when we call on them to perform bends and twists that our body is not ready for. It’s important to do at least a minimal warm-up to prevent not only injuries but also stiffness.

1/ Balasana: Arch your back, arms along (or in front of) your body, with your head to the floor, like in Table Pose. Stay in this position a few minutes to become aware of your breathing and any tension in your body.

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2. Table Pose to loosen the spine: On all fours, arch your back and raise your head to the sky as you inhale, then round your back as you exhale.

3. Warm-up: Do two or three variations of the Sun Salutation.

4. Vrkshasana: Tree Pose works to improve your balance and concentration.

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5. Baddha konasana (Butterfly Pose): Sit like in Cobbler Pose (with the soles of your feet touching) and “flap” your knees to loosen your ankles and open up your pelvis.

6. End with alternate nostril breathing. This technique will allow you to unlock and purify the nadis, which are the energy channels carrying vital forces and cosmic energy through the body. Here’s how: At the end of your warm-up, sit comfortably. Place your right hand in front of your nose, and extend your thumb and ring finger. Gently block your right nostril with your thumb. Inhale through your left nostril. Then, block it using your ring finger. Lift your thumb and exhale slowly through your right nostril. Now, inhale through your right nostril; then, block it. Lift the ring finger and exhale slowly through your left nostril. You have completed one cycle. Repeat the full cycle 3–5 times.

 

Après-ski exercises

1. Table Pose to ease your spine: On all fours, arch your back and raise your head to the sky as you inhale, then round your back as you exhale.

2. Do a Forward Bend (paschimottanasana), standing or seated, to stretch your back and legs.

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3. Do the Candle Pose to relieve your legs.

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4. End with a savasana relaxation: Close your eyes, relax and empty your mind.

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Illustration credit: Luna Joulia

 

 

By Margaux Sappen, sales advisor at the Oberson shop in Laval

 

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