What do yoga and skiing have in common? The need for balance, flexibility and focus.
Yoga helps cultivate these qualities, so it follows that practicing yoga can help improve ski technique. Let's face it - we love skiing for its adrenaline rush. But the other side of this coin is the potential for injury. Think of yoga as insurance against injury and one of the best ways to improve your skills on the slopes. It does both by addressing your body's imbalances and fostering strength and flexibility. Yoga also encourages a focus on the breath. By being able to concentrate on your breathing, transitioning your movements with grace, and cultivating an awareness of body balance and alignment, any level of skier will get more out of their time on the mountain and be less injury-prone.
Welcome back to the second half of a six week series designed to keep your body ski-worthy so you can hit the mountain with confidence. These mini yoga-practices will target body parts that are critical to good form and technique, and when practiced together will stretch and strengthen these key areas in anticipation of the start of ski season.
SKI SEASON STRENGTHENERS: HIPS & LEGS
I had a yoga teacher once that called the hips the "attic of the body"; there's all kinds of dusty old stuff in there that needs to be cleaned out. Our hips build up a lot of tension from so much time in a seated position, and this tension results in reduced flexibility. Opening your hips up and strengthening the surrounding muscles, including the upper legs, gives you a solid extension of your core. With this series you’ll tone your glutes and quads while simultaneously opening your hips; flexible hip muscles are key to maintaining body alignment while skiing.
Try these yoga moves to increase your back’s strength and flexibility during ski season; aim for 3-4 times a week all winter.
Margaret Burns Vap is a yoga instructor/entrepreneur, and the founder of Big Sky Yoga Retreats, offering yoga and outdoor fitness getaways in Big Sky & Bozeman, Montana.
Visit bigskyyogaretreats.com for Winter 2009 yoga and skiing retreat dates.
Clothing provided by athleta.com.