Headed to a winter wonderland for some fun in the snow? Are you a winter sports endurance athlete looking to improve on the slopes? Well, I’m bringing you a simple yoga routine to help you before and after the mountain. Yoga can help bring balance to an athlete, making them more relaxed, limber, and better range of motion. This will focus on loosening up your upper body and building strength and stability in your core and lower body.
Wintery Yoga Sequence
Grab your mat and get ready to limber up before hitting the slopes.
1. Table Pose with Alternate Arm and Leg Lifts
- Make your way to the ground on all fours. Knees underneath the hips and wrists underneath the shoulders.
- Engaging your core, pres the ground away and gaze down at your fingertips.
- Extend your right leg back and up.
- Reach forward with the left hand.
- Balance and breathe while keeping your hips and back level.
- Hold for 5 breaths, then switch sides.
2. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Śvanāsana)
- From tabletop, walk your hands a few inches in front of your shoulders.
- Curl your toes under, lift your hips, and straighten your legs as best you can.
- Push into your palms and fingers to draw more energy into your lower body helping to elevate your pelvis.
- Stretch out all ten fingers, whilst pushing down primarily between the index knuckle and thumb.
- Keeping a small bend in your arms, rotate your shoulders out and the forearms in.
- Draw the front of your rib cage in and press your legs back, lengthening behind your knees.
- Extend your heels away from your toes and pull them toward the floor.
- Move your sitz bones towards the opposite corner of the room.
3. Chair Pose (Utkatāsana)
- Begin in Tadasana. Bend your knees and drop your hips, bringing your weight onto your heels.
- Press your lower legs back so your knees are behind your toes.
- Drop your tailbone, clutch your front ribs inward, and lift your arms up shoulder-width apart.
- Keep your shoulders relaxed in their sockets and rotate the outer edges of your arms inward to broaden your upper back.
- Draw your gaze upward.
4. Twisting Wide Legged Forward Fold (Prasarita Padottanasana)
- Start with your feet parallel and one leg-length apart.
- Put your hands on your hips and engage your quads
- Keep rooting yourself in the outer edges of your feet as you hinge forward from your hips, moving your hands to the floor shoulder-width apart.
- Inhale as you extend your chest and place your hands underneath your shoulders.
- Place your left hand in the center underneath the chest.
- Press the ground away as you reach for the ceiling with your right hand. Twisting toward your right leg.
- Move your shoulders away from your ears.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
5. Side Angle Pose (Pārśvakonāsana)
- Begin in Warrior 2. Starting on the left, extend your entire left side over your forward leg as you place the fingertips of your left hand on the floor to the outside of your front leg.
- Reach up with your right arm and rotate your palm forward. Extend your arm overhead to form a straight line with your back leg, rolling the outer side of your arm in toward your body to relax your shoulder.
- Keep your chest open.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
4. Warrior 3 (Vīrabhadrāsana III)
- Beginning in Warrior 1, keep your arms extended above your head. Lean forward over your front thigh.
- Keep gazing forward and lift your back leg off the floor until it is parallel with the floor.
- Extend your upper chest and gaze forward as you flex your back foot, keeping your leg straight and all of your toes pointing down.
- Keep your arms extending straight out in front of you and keep them shoulder width apart or join your palms together and your heart.
- Repeat on the other side.
5. Boat Pose (Nāvāsana)
- Sit on the mat with your legs straight in front of you and your palms flat on the floor, with your fingers pointing toward your feet. Brace your arms and lean back slightly, keeping your back straight, until you are resting on your sitz bones.
- Bend your knees on an exhale and lift your feet so that your thighs are at a 45 degree angle to the mat. Lift your pubic bone toward your navel and slowly, with control, straighten your knees and lift your toes just above eye level.
- Stretch your arms out so they are parallel to the mat alongside your legs and reach your fingers forward.
- Hold the position for around 20 seconds before releasing your legs on the exhale breath and returning to sitting position on the inhale breath.
Try this routine before or after you hit the mountain and let me know if it helped bring you more strength and stability or helped in a faster recovery time afterwards. I’d love to hear how it went! Are there other poses you like to do to as well? Any for a specific sport? Do let us know!