become a yoga instructorBy Dr. Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500

Flying down the side of a snow-covered ski slope, in boots attached to a snowboard, may not sound compatible with the gentle flowing asanas (poses) of Yoga training. Snowboarding is a strenuous sport that requires preparation and takes a toll on the joints. Yoga is an ancient healing art that consists of slow deliberate movements and many other therapeutic techniques. Yet, many winter sport enthusiasts are finding that the practice of asanas for snowboarders helps to keep them in shape during the summer months and enhance their snowboarding skills all year.

How does Yoga Practice Help Snowboarders?

• Improves flexibility

• Reduces injuries

• Helps injuries heal more quickly

• Builds stamina

• Tones muscles

• Increases body awareness

• Strengthens core muscles

• Improves balance

• Encourages effective breathing

• Loosens tight muscles

• Helps to support the spine

What Are the Precautions for Snowboarders Who Want to Try Yoga?

• Move slowly in to and out of poses.

• Practice deep breathing within your comfort zone.

• Stretch muscles, only within comfortable limits

• Consider health conditions or other limitations.

• Use a sticky mat and wear loose-fitting clothing.

What Are Some of the Asanas Recommended for Snowboarders?

• Mountain Pose – grounds and balances; prepares body for other poses

• Chair Pose – aligns shoulders, hips, and ankles; uses core muscles

• Forward Kneeling Lunge – stretches hip flexors and improves posture

• Warrior I Pose – balances and strengthens shoulders, arms, and ankles

• Downward Facing Dog – strengthens muscles in core, upper body, and legs

• Tree Pose – improves mobility in knee and hip; stretches hips, thighs, shoulders, and chest

• Seated Hip and Spine Twists – makes spine mobile; increases flexibility in thigh muscles

• Seated Cobbler’s Pose – strengthens thigh muscles and lessens strain on knees

The above-mentioned postures are a short list of asanas that will help a snowboarder develop a complete cross-training routine. Most of these postures could be joined together in a sequence, much similar to the Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar). In fact, Sun Salutations are recommended for snowboarders. Obviously, balance is also of great importance. Although Tree pose was mentioned, Eagle, Warrior III, and Lord of the Dance pose would be beneficial, as well.

According to some Yoga instructors, the poses recommended for snowboarders vary, depending upon timing and location. Although Power Yoga may be great to get in shape and increase stamina, Restorative Yoga classes may be more beneficial for relaxing on the slopes or resting after a hard day. One thing is certain – core strength and balance are crucial to snowboarders, and a well-rounded asana practice helps to develop both.

© Copyright 2011 – Paul Jerard / Aura Publications

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