Why Come to Ski Fitness Yoga?
Ski ﬁtness yoga has such an important place in Jackson Hole, as most folks here love some sort of snow sport, or two or three. The winter season here is long and the terrain and conditions demand skill and stamina.
Ski fitness yoga will challenge and develop your strength, stamina, flexibility, balance, breath, attitude, and awareness to help you be at your best on the slopes this winter. It can also help heal and prevent injuries so you can love this magical place that we live in to the fullest!
Whatever we happen to occupy ourselves with during the summer and fall such as hiking, mountain biking, climbing, sitting on the couch or child rearing, it’s not adequate preparation for the ski season and that ﬁrst powder cycle that challenges even the strongest of hamstrings and quads on skiers and snowboarders.
Thereʼs nothing like that ﬁrst endless powder run down the Hobacks or top to bottom Glory to humble even the ﬁttest. In my honest opinion, no matter what you do or donʼt do to prepare, the ultimate training for skiing is…skiing. But might I add, skiing skillfully.
Ski Fitness Training or Skiing: It’s Not What You Do, But HOW You Do It
Coming from the yogic perspective, itʼs not really what you do, but HOW you do it that really matters, with everything in life.
- What is the quality of your physical posture? As you work are the muscles that need to be working, working and the ones not needed (like your jaw and face) relaxed?
- Are you aligned skeletally with gravity to prevent injury and for optimal biomechanics?
- What is the quality of your effort, are you gripped and forcing yourself aggressively or is there some essence of ease present within your effort?
- Are you working in accord with your energy level today, do you need to push yourself today or ease off or take a rest day?
- What is the quality of your breathing, are you breathing and how? Is the breath non-existent and erratic or calm and even?
- What is the quality of your presence? Are you stressed about what happened an hour ago or what you want to happen tomorrow or are you right here, right now? Can you turn off your music and your phone, stop talking and pay attention to whatʼs going on right now?
- What is your intention for being here? Are you here to be better than the next person, or are you here to be your best and to have fun and love life? Are you here to do what you were able to do ten years ago or to do what is appropriate for you now?
These are the questions that the yogic skier asks everyday, every time we put our ski or snowboard boots on.
As an acupuncturist, I treat a lot of injuries from every kind of sport and workout (including yoga!) and it always comes down to one of the above issues which all boil down to being out of alignment in some form or fashion with regards to our body, mind or breath.
Yoga is all about balance: balanced action and technique, balanced mind and attitude and balanced breath. And discovering for ourselves our own unique and personal definition of what that balance is for who we are today. Sometimes in our attempt to get ﬁt or to perform athletically, we push ourselves or are pushed by others to a point that brings us out of balance, instead of into balance, and this inevitably leads to injury.
As yogis and athletes, part of the fun is to push ourselves and rediscover our limits all the while staying in balance. And the important perspective here is to grow slowly and remember the big picture. The tortoise wins the race! Slow and consistent efforts to improve on all levels mind, body and breath will absolutely improve your athletic performance in the long run so that you can absolutely be a better skier 20 years from now.
So, in whatever ski ﬁtness class you choose, it is your responsibility to pace yourself.
Even if the focus is pushing limits quickly, it is up to you to remember this responsibility and that your alignment, your breath and your attitude will always guide the way. Also, the safest and most effective training will include all of these elements.
May the force and the snow be with us all this season! And please join me for Ski Ftness Yoga on Thursdays 5 – 6 pm, starting November 7th and through December.