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.

Mountain Pose in yoga.

Photo by Steph Wells

Place your feet parallel and hip distance apart with your arms by your sides and palms facing forward.  Ground down through your feet and engage your quadriceps as you lift both knee caps up.  Spin your inner thighs toward the wall behind you as you draw your tailbone toward the floor.  Stand tall and relax the tops of your shoulders as you expand across your collar bones and broaden through your shoulder blades.  Imagine yourself as a sturdy and powerful mountain.



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.

Plank pose in yoga.

Photo by Steph Wells

Start on all fours and place your hands on the floor shoulder distance apart with your fingertips pointing forward.  Step your feet back into a high pushup position.  Adjust your shoulders so they are directly over your wrists and straighten your arms.  Imagine a line of energy from the crown of your head, through your shoulders, hips and then extending through your heels.


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.

Warrior 2 pose in yoga.

Photo by Steph Wells

Step wide along the long side of a yoga mat.  Check your stance by holding your arms out in a T shape.  The general guide is that your ankles are under your wrists.  From deep within your right hip socket rotate your right leg 90 degrees so your toes point toward the right short side of your mat.  Slip your left heel back so that your left toes are now slightly turned in.  Inhale raise your arms shoulder height and exhale bend your right knee until it is directly over your right ankle.  Turn your head, without turning your torso, and gaze over your right finger tips.  Keep your legs strong and active, lengthen up through the torso and avoid collapsing over the right thigh.  Stretch out vigorously through all of your fingers and soften your shoulders away from your ears.  On an inhale come up out of the pose and then repeat on the other side.

Warrior 2 pose in yoga.

Photo by Steph Wells

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.

Tree Pose in yoga.

Photo by Steph Wells

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.

Chair Pose in yoga.

Photo by Steph Wells

Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).  Inhale as you bend your knees and sweep your arms out and overhead with the palm facing each other.  Sit back as if you were going to sit down in a chair.  For tight shoulders keep your arms wide.  Soften your shoulders away from your ears.  If your front ribs start to puff out, soften them in towards the body and broaden between the bottom of your shoulders blades.  Maintain a neutral pelvis, draw your sit bones toward the floor and release your inner thighs toward the floor. Press firmly into your feet and extend all the way through your fingertips.  On an inhale straighten your legs and exhale as you release your arms back to your sides.

Chair pose in yoga.

Photo by Steph Wells

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.


Step one of Half Lord of Fish Pose

Photo by Steph Wells

Sit on the floor with both legs extend straight in front of you.  Bend your left leg and place your left foot on the outside of your right leg (your left foot is flat on the floor and knee pointed toward the ceiling).  Bend your right leg and slide your right heel so that it is next to the outside of your left hip (your right knee is now on the floor pointing straight in front of you).   Place your left fingertips on the floor behind you and use your arm like a little kickstand to lengthen up through your spine.  Inhale reach your right arm straight up as you lengthen your spine.  Exhale as you twist to the left, bend your right arm and hook your elbow on the outside of your left knee (palm facing away from you and fingers pointing toward the ceiling).  Gaze your left shoulder.  On an exhale slowly come back to center.  Repeat on the other side.

step 2 of Half Lord of Fish Pose.

Photo by Steph Wells

step 3 of Half Lord of Fish Pose.

Photo by Steph Wells

These are just a few poses you can get started with.  A little yoga goes a long way and a consistent practice is excellent for staying in shape and also helps to prevent injuries. I want to be able to shred for as long as my body will let me and yoga can help achieve that goal.  Please remember before starting any physical yoga practice please consult with your doctor first, especially if you have any injuries or pain, or if you are pregnant or ill.  This is just an overview of these poses and it is always recommend that you seek guidance from a certified yoga teacher in person who can help you adapt poses to your personal needs.



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Sub-Categories Fitness / Summer

One response to “Yoga for Skiers and Riders: Staying in Shape in the Off Season”

  1. Nayeema says:

    All the poses are very effective to increase body strength, muscle balance and body flexibility.

    Nayeema Akter

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