12 November 2009

Yoga and skiing

With winter approaching, many skiers will be busy preparing themselves for the ski season. Although at first glance it may seem unlikely, yoga and skiing have a lot in common. Balance, flexibility and strength are essential for both activities, so it should come as no surprise that yoga can be hugely beneficial when combined with a suitable pre-ski fitness programme in order to optimize preparation. It goes without saying that a gentle yoga practice is a great way to unwind after a long hard day of physical exertion on the slopes.

Physical benefits
Developing all the key major muscle groups used in skiing - such as the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteals and abdominals - by practising yoga can have a very positive effect on the body; even before you even set foot on the ski slopes.

Many of the common injuries that affect skiers, in particular those who lead sedentary lifestyles, are knee-related. By practicing balancing and strengthening poses, such as the warrior sequences, you strengthen and lengthen the supporting muscle groups and, in the process, decrease the risk of injury.

Tight hips can also restrict movement on the slopes and a lack of core strength in the abdominal area can also have an effect on your skiing. Once again, many yoga poses work on opening the hips and rotating the torso, bringing awareness and strength to the body.


Yogic breathing is the key to finding a mental balance and focus when skiing. Breathing techniques relax and focus the mind, bringing a new clarity to how you feel and think when skiing. Yogic breathing can be very beneficial particularly to those who are new to skiing. Unlike children, who do not experience fear when new to the slopes, adult skiers do! Using these breathing techniques allows us to overcome these sensations and move on in a positive frame of mind.


The following poses may be beneficial to skiers before hitting the pistes. Some are ideal for working on balance and buidling up strength in the legs, whereas others work focus on increasing mobility of the spine and opening the hips.
  • Warrior I - Virabhadrasana A
  • Warrior II - Virabhadrasana B
  • The tree pose - Vrksasana
  • Eagle pose – Garudasana
  • Seated twist - Bharadvajasana
  • Cobblers pose - Baddha konasana A
  • Camel pose - Ustrasana

After a day on the pistes, a gentle yoga practice will ease and lengthen the muscles and re-balance energy levels, thus making yoga and skiing perfect partners. The shoulder stand (Savangasana) and the corpse pose are especially suitable for unwinding after a long hard day skiing.

More information

For more information about yoga classes, workshops and retreats, visit the yoga mama website or email her at info@yogamama.co.uk.

For skiing holidays, visit:


Skiing photographs courtesy of Thorsten Jochim and special thanks to www.call-a-yogi.com

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