Yoga offers many rewards for winter sports fans. From better balance and core strength to injury prevention and a more focused mind, this series of yoga poses will refine your balance and strengthen the key muscle groups (quadriceps, glutes, ankles, abdominals, and back) that you use in winter sports. If you're new to snow sports, practicing this sequence regularly for several weeks before you strap on your skis, board, or skates will help you build the strength you'll need.
If you're going skiing today, move through this sequence first to wake up the key muscle groups you'll be using. The sequence is designed to be practiced in the order below. Practice often and respect how your body feels each time.
Alternate Arm and Leg Raises
: Kneel on all fours, with your shoulders directly over your wrists and your hips over your knees. Inhale and simultaneously lift your left arm to shoulder level. Reach and lift your right leg parallel to the floor, reaching back through your toes. As you reach though your limbs, lengthen your spine. Keep your pelvis level and your belly firm. Stay in the pose for five seconds and then return to all fours.
Practice the pose five times and then repeat with the right arm and left leg. It's easy to hold your breath in this pose so be aware of each inhalation and each exhalation.
Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Kneel on all fours with your hips over your knees and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your palms, index fingers slightly turned out. Turn your toes under.
Exhale and lift your knees away from the floor.
Keep the knees slightly bent and the heels lifted away from the floor. Lift the buttock bones toward the ceiling.
With an exhalation, push your top thighs back into your hamstrings and stretch your heels down toward the floor. Stay for 15 seconds breathing evenly.