Take Your Winter Sports to the Next Level with These 6 Yoga Poses from 6 Yoga Poses to Take Your Winter Sports to the Next Level
6 Yoga Poses to Take Your Winter Sports to the Next Level
Take Your Winter Sports to the Next Level with These 6 Yoga Poses
Professional Yogi, athlete and Blissologist Eoin Finn has put together a series of poses that will help skiers and boarders prepare for (and recover from) the slopes this season. Finn says incorporating yoga into your routine this winter can help you feel looser, more relaxed and give you a better range of motion, while also giving you intimate control of your neuro-muscular system. Take a look at the poses that will help most.
Utkatasana (chair pose)
This pose imitates the movement of a snowboard carve. It opens up tight calf muscles, strengthens the legs for the power required for the piston like action needed for a loose and smooth carve. It also provides a ton of core stability and decompresses the lower back.
Instructions: Begin in standing with big toes touching and heels slightly apart. Bend your knees and sink the pelvis low as you reach the arms over head. To increase traction and decompress the spine lengthen the sit bones in opposition to the arms which are slightly inwardly rotated to increase freedom of the shoulders. Breathe long and deep for 30-60 seconds staying relaxed as the heat builds. Enjoy.
Parivrtta Prasarita Padottanasana (wide leg twisting forward fold)
This move is the snowboarding equivalent of a mute grab and helps with all carving and spinning maneuvers. It lengthens and strengthens the internal and external oblique muscles while lengthening the hamstrings, calf and back muscles. When performed well, it can also decompress the spine.
Instructions: Begin in standing with the arms spread wide and the feet roughly under the palms. Bring the hands to the hips, inhale and lengthen the spine, then exhale and fold at the hip joints. Bring the hands under the shoulders. People who are tighter will love this pose more and get more benefit by bending the knees.
Bring the right hand under the center of the chest. Inhale, lengthen the spine again and exhale twist to the left, reaching the left hand high. Try and keep the head and sacrum on the central axis and feel like someone is pulling your top left hand to the sky. More advanced people can bring the right elbow to the floor. Breathe long and deep, lengthening on inhalations and twisting more on exhalations for 30 seconds. Repeat and enjoy on the other side.
Eka Hasta Ustrasana (one arm camel pose)
This pose is the snowboarding equivalent of method grab. It lengthens the whole front body including quadriceps, hip flexors, abdominals, chest, neck and arms. This increase in range of motion will help with any carve, spin or grab.
Instructions: Start in kneeling, with the knees directly under the pelvis. Bring the hands to the hips. Inhale, gather the inner legs in, press the feet into the floor and lift the pubic bone, exhale relax and stay long. Inhale again to get long pressing the sternum away from the feet, and exhale arch back without hinging and compressing the lower back. Take the left hand to the back of the right hip and reach the right hand up and back. Any lower back compression means back up. Stretch all the muscles of the front body with long, deep breaths for 30 seconds. Come out slowly into child’s pose and repeat with the opposite arm lifted.
Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward dog)
This common pose lengthens the spine, stretches the calf, hamstring and back muscles which get so tight at the end of any day on the slopes.
Instructions: Start on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Inhale; lift the pelvis up and away from the hands and exhale press the sitbones far away from the hands.
People who are a little tighter will have to work with bent knees if the hamstring and calf muscles won’t let you keep the arms in line with the torso. With the pelvis pressing far away from the hands, your spine will feel a lot of traction. Breathe more space into your intervertebral disks while melting tension out of the muscles of the back body. Hold 30-60 seconds.
Supta Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana (supine pigeon pose)
This pose is a great way to loosen those tight hip muscles like the gluteous maximus that work so hard to bring power into virtually all snowboarding moves.
Instructions: lie on your back with the lower pelvis on the floor and the right ankle on the left knee. Press through the big toe bone of the right foot to protect the knee joint. Inhale; lengthen sitbones in opposition to the crown of the head and exhale draw the knee into the chest. If you are looser, reach under the right shin for the left knee to draw the right thigh closer to the front to the body.
Make sure there is no pain whatsoever in the knee. Breathe deeply inflating the right hip as you breathe in and exhaling deeply from that area as you breathe out. Hold for 1 minute before repeating on the other side.
King Arthur Lunge
This lunge is perfect for lengthening the whole front body, especially the quadriceps, hip flexors, abdominals and chest which get tight from all the tucking action snowboarding requires.
Instructions: Start in a lunge with the right foot on the floor and the back left knee on the floor, hands on the right thigh. Shift your weight far enough forward so there is no pressure on the back knee. Rooting down through the feet, inhale lift the chest and pubic bone and exhale arch back slightly keeping the chest pressing away from the back foot. Get longer as you inhale and exhale arch back without sinking into the lower back. If it feels ok lift the arms. Hold for 30 seconds enjoying long breaths and opening in the entire front body. Come out slowly and repeat on the other side.