YOGA AND SKIING

Are you going skiing this winter? Then please take this advice: Prepare your body for your skiing holiday! It is worth it. Here’s my experience from last winter.

But first some background: I have been skiing since I was little – I am Norwegian and there is a saying that Norwegians are born with skis on. Well, that’s not exactly how I would describe myself! However I have always felt confident and stable when skiing, and I find it easy to move around with skis on. I enjoy both cross-country and downhill skiing.

When I went on my annual cross-country skiing holiday last February, I did not expect anything to be different. You know how it is, when you have practiced a sport a really long time and you only do it once in a while, you get used to everything being the same every single time. It is just as riding a bike when you know how to do it but don’t do it often. I knew that I was both stronger and more flexible from my yoga practice, but I didn’t know I would notice the benefits that much. It was a welcoming surprise to have a brand new skiing experience!

The changes were the following: I was less tired after a day of skiing than I would normally be. Having become more aware of how my body feels, I chose to spend half an hour’s time on my yoga mat every morning before leaving the cabin – just to give the body a chance to prepare for a day of skiing. I also took time to allow the body to recover every afternoon as I came back to the cabin.

Regarding breathing, that was all fine and easy even though I was finding myself at a higher altitude than London 🙂 The breath awareness practised in a yoga session makes a big difference. Yoga practice increases lung capacity. You work on muscles around the lungs to allow the lungs to breathe fully. I’ve noticed previously the effect of my breath awareness practice when going for a run. My breath seems to be “with me” all the time, I don’t get out of breath that easily – that is, on a short run!

The best thing though in my whole skiing experience last February was the sense of stability in the body while skiing, and of being completely in touch with the tracks and snow under my skis. The body moving without anything holding me back. Openness in the body, strength and ease of movement in the hip and shoulder regions, ooh I loved it. And also the way I could fully trust my ankles, knees and back. I could move with freedom! I didn’t know that I was not free in my movements before experiencing how is was to be free while moving. Do you see what I mean?

So, in case you are like most of us, sitting down for an average of 12-15 hours per day and you are planning a skiing holiday this winter, then start preparing your body now. You won’t regret it. Your preparation will make your time on the slopes so much more enjoyable. You could view it as injury prevention as well?

 

I teach yoga in Wimbledon, you can prepare your body for skiing with me! Come join my Yoga for Sports group classes. I also do 1-1 sessions. Contact me by sending an email to annettewiikyoga@gmail.com

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Annette Wiik

My name is Annette. I am a Yoga Academy Certified Teacher (BWY-Accredited School) and started practising Hatha Yoga over 20 years ago. Holding a certificate from Bangor University to teach mindfulness-based courses, I incorporate my knowledge of mindfulness meditation in all my yoga classes. I have two grown-up children and live in Wimbledon.