Yoga for Skiers and Snowboarders: 4 Post-Hill Stretches

Stretching, resting and rejuvenating your legs immediately after you get off the hill is one of the most important things you can do for yourself when you go skiing or snowboarding.?

"You need to stretch the ligaments of your legs and hips specifically for the health of your knees and the rest of your leg," says Marla Apt, a senior level Iyengar Yoga teacher based in Los Angeles, California. "If your leg muscles don't get to properly rest and stretch after skiing, they tighten even more and you risk future injuries."

Here's Apt's series of poses you should be sure to do as soon as you get your boots off.

1.?Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (Upward Extended Feet Pose)

Lie on your back with your legs up the wall, getting as close to the wall as you possibly can. Straighten your legs, activate your quadriceps and flex your feet so that you stretch your hamstrings. If your butt begins to come off the floor, move away from the wall until it's on the floor. Stretch your heels up the wall and press your thigh bones straight into the wall—it will help you release your lower back.

Spread your toes and the balls of your feet; concentrate on lengthening your inner thigh towards your big toe and contracting your outer thigh towards your butt—it's a really subtle movement but it'll help your form.

2.?Virasana (Hero's Pose)

Kneel with your knees together and feet apart. While you're still kneeling, place your fingers into the backs of your knees and pull your calf muscle back away from your knees. Now sit between your feet. If you can't get your butt bones to the floor or if you feel knee pain, use a support—a blanket, block or pillow—to sit on. Make sure your feet are straight back and spread your toes apart—you can even use your fingers to do this. Sit up straight and keep your chest lifted.

At this point, you can even do a shoulder stretch like Parvatanasana, in which you interlock your fingers, turn your palms out and straighten your arms overhead. Make sure you switch the interlocking of your fingers equally. When you come out, make sure you don't twist your knees.

3.Adhomukhasvanasana (Downward Facing Dog)

Push right up into a Downward Facing Dog. Spread your fingers and palms and make sure your middle finger is pointing straight forward. Keep your arms straight, lift your butt up, straighten your knees and press your thigh bones straight back. Extend your calves down to the floor and let your head hang.

4. Supta Padangusthasana? (Reclining Big Toe Pose)

Lie on your back with your legs together and straight. Lift one leg off the floor so your knee is facing your chest. Keep your leg straight and put a belt over the ball of that foot, keeping the foot flexed and leg stretched to the ceiling. Extend the calf up to the heel and press your other thigh down into the floor, not letting that leg turn out. Hold the belt, lift your knee cap and repeat on the other side.

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Christina Scannapiego is the Outdoors editor for Active.com.

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