Follow Sage Cattabriga-Alosa through his yoga practice to improve your flexibility and your mental game.
Before big-mountain powerhouse Sage Cattabriga-Alosa rips a monster line, he takes a deep breath and drops into a yoga pose called Downward Dog. "Yoga gives me a mental advantage," he says. "If I'm nervous, a few yoga breathing techniques calm me physically and mentally." Though he hasn't exactly rolled out his sticky mat on the snow, Sage uses the sun salutation-a series of movements linked by breath-to boost his performance. "The benefits are strength, balance, and flexibility, key components of skiing," he says.
But yoga is more than just human-pretzel twisting. "It clears the nervous channels and opens the mind to calmly react to what's going on in the snow," says Julie Southwell, co-owner of the Bend Yoga Center in Oregon and Sage's guru for the past seven years. "Yoga tunes you in to subtle muscle movements and your breath." Not buyin' it? Watch Sage ski in TGR's The Tangerine Dream (tetongravity.com) and see for yourself.
Ashtanga Yoga (seen here): Ashtanga employs athletic, flowing sequences of postures linked with the breath and accompanied by a meditative state of mind.
Asana: Literally "seat," an asana is a posture or stretch.
Ujiya Breath: Deep resonant breathing in and out of the nose. It is initiated at the back of the throat, using the swallowing muscles. It is said to bring energy and clarity to the body and mind. Ujiya means "victorious."
Suryanamaskar: "Salute to the sun." A sequence of linked movements that build heat and engage and stretch all the areas of the body.