Frankly, we think yoga is one of the best activities for turning you into a better skier. While it might not seem immediately obvious, both disciplines require several of the same skills, including mental focus and an array of physical attributes. With that in mind, here are five ways yoga can sharpen you up for the slopes.
1. Boosts Balance
Balance is fundamental to yoga. And the benefits to skiing are obvious. Better balance means you’ll find it easier to stay on your feet and avoid injury. When you hit the slopes, you’ll also likely feel a sense of added confidence knowing that you’re more stable and able to adjust if you take a wobble. While we don’t suggest tackling trails beyond your comfort and skill levels, there’s a lot to be said for feeling more relaxed and self-assured.
Recommended poses: Mountain pose, tree pose, dancer Pose.
2. Increases Strength
Strong hamstrings and glutes are especially important when you’re skiing. For many skiers, building strength in these key areas often includes exercises such as leg squats and lunges. However, yoga is one of the best ways to incorporate strength training into your life. Far from being merely a passive exercise, yoga is very much like lifting weights — the “weight” being your own body. It can boost muscle tone, enhance definition, and increase muscle strength, all while targeting some of the key muscles that are essential to skiing.
Recommended poses: Upward facing dog, triangle pose, warrior poses
3. Heightens focus
When you’re tearing down a black run at 30mph, being able to maintain zen-like focus is pretty mission critical. And yoga is a great way to sharpen up your senses. The act of paying attention to your pose and breathing helps you to disconnect from your surroundings and fall into a state of relaxed concentration. The mindfulness aspect of yoga also teaches you to let go of negative emotions — this can be useful when, for instance, you’re getting stressed about venturing off piste. Through repetition, you’ll find yoga makes it easier to stay focused on a task for longer periods of time and truly enjoy the moment.
Recommended poses: Crane pose, eagle pose, warrior III
4. Enhances flexibility
Being lithe and limber is paramount when you’re on the ski slopes. Take up yoga and discover one of the best ways to increase your flexibility. It helps to develop a wider range of motion and can be especially helpful for anyone who spends a lot of their day sitting down. It’s also a myth that you already need to be flexible to do yoga. In fact, doing yoga on a regular basis is the ideal way to become more flexible. Simple poses such as a ‘standing forward fold’ are a great workout for your hamstrings and certainly don’t anything require ballerina-esque balance. In between classes, aim to build stretches into your daily routine for maximal results.
Recommended poses: Downward dog, crescent pose, pyramid pose
5. Prevents potential injuries
Last but certainly not least, it’s injury prevention. In fact, this might be one of the biggest benefits yoga offers recreational skiers. If you only ski once or twice each year, it’s a tall order to expect your body to suddenly be ready on-demand after a morning coffee and a brisk walk. With a regular yoga practice, you’ll keep your body fine-tuned throughout the year. So when you do pull on your skis, you’ll be physically stronger and more likely to cope with the demands placed on your body.
Recommended poses: Frankly, the full practice of yoga will help you become fitter, stronger, and make yourself less injury prone.
How yoga can sharpen up your skiing
With improved balance, strength, focus, flexibility, and the potential for injury prevention, maintaining a year-round yoga practice can have major benefits for skiers.
Our range of yoga retreats in France are the perfect way to get set for the slopes — and they take place in a truly stunning setting! Retreats are held every summer in the beautiful Giffre Valley, located in the Haute-Savoie region of France. Sessions are held in a converted 18th-century barn, and we head outside to a large private garden on warm days. Guests can stay at either Ferme St Christophe or Chalet Samoens during our yoga retreats in summer.
Find out more about booking one of our summer yoga retreats today.