It can be tough to keep up the motivation to stay in shape during the off season but practicing yoga is a great compliment to winter sports all year round. During my yoga teacher training in the Lake Tahoe region of California, I found that yoga was perfect for staying strong, nimble, focused, and balanced for all my outdoor activities. Here are some of my favorite poses that will help you stay in shape during the off season and all through the winter as well.
Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
Mountain pose is a great way to start your practice. It may not seem physically challenging but it will help you take a moment to stand strong and just breath. Mountain pose is the foundation for standing poses and helps to ground you.
Plank is a great pose for building core strength as well as upper arm strength. You can always modify the pose by bringing your knees to the floor at first and working your way up to the full pose.
Virabhadrasana II (Warrior II)
Warrior II is a great pose to strengthen your legs and open your hips, plus its foundation is kind of reminiscent of a snowboard stance. For me this pose brings a strong and calm confidence.
Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
I love tree pose! It is one of my favorite poses because it forces you to focus as you balance on one leg, yet you feel grounded and connected with the earth. Tree pose is a perfect complement for the balance needed when skiing or snowboarding and strengthens your legs while stretching your groin and inner thigh area.
Stand in Mountain pose. Bring all of your weight on to your left leg. Bend your right knee and slowly lift your right leg up only as far as you can while still remaining steady. Rotate your right leg so your knee points toward the right. Place your right foot on your left leg (either above or below the knee but directly on the side of your knee) with your toes point toward the floor. Bring your hands together at your heart and find one spot in front of you to gaze at for stability. If you feel stable enough, raise your arms up over head and reach your fingertips toward the ceiling. When you are ready to come out of the pose slowly lower your arms then remove your foot from your leg and slowly lower your foot to the ground. Repeat on the other side.
Utkatansana (Chair Pose)
Chair pose is an excellent pose mimicking a ski stance. It strengthens the legs as well has helps with balance. I have a love-hate relationship with Utkatasana but if you stick with it this pose will pay off.
Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of Fish Pose)
Twists are great for keeping the spine long and supple. Ardha Matsyendrasana is a great seated twist that also stretches your side hips and butt which may be much needed after being on the mountain all day. If you have any knee injuries or pain or if you’ve had a shoulder dislocation in the past an alternative to this pose would be a simple spinal twist on your back with bent knees.