Skiers and boarders everywhere wait with childlike anxiety for the first snowfall deep enough to warrant calling in sick to work, but there are better ways to prepare for snow season than working on your “sick voice” for that obligatory call to the boss.
Most winter sports injuries can be blamed on two things. An untuned body, geared up and decked out for the season’s first rickety attempt or a significant impact with an immovable object. We’re here to discuss how to avoid the former.
While we rely on muscle memory to whisper to our bodies what to do with fresh, deep powder, we can benefit by tuning up before strapping on a board, skis or snowshoes for the first time. Cross training with weekly yoga sessions can lend flexibility and warmth to your body during a time when cold can hamper your efforts more than help them. Cold can intensify tension and rigidity of basic musculature, making it more susceptible to season-stealing strains, breaks and pulls. Even practicing yoga once or twice a week brings benefits to your other activities. Stretching and strengthening muscles you didn’t know you possessed helps you avoid injury while promoting increased flexibility and balance.
Prevention of muscle injury isn’t the only benefit yoga offers. Yoga focuses heavily on breathing, internal mental focus, maintaining balance despite, or in spite of, an awkward or unplanned position and a finding of one’s center that many find compliments their winter sports. Our bodies’ ability to respond to an ever-changing environment by spontaneously and subconsciously adjusting one’s balance is critical in even casual enjoyment of most winter sports and crucial to the die-hard winter enthusiast.
Yoga studios around the valley offer beginner’s classes through master’s level training. In fact, several offer sport-or individual-specific classes to other sub groups as well. Centered City Yoga offers free introductory classes and a “Yoga for Athletes” class that focuses on lower back mobility, lower body strength and balance. The Yoga Center offers multiple levels of class for the novice to the beginner, with complimenting and escalating meditation classes. Bikram Yoga boasts a heated studio allowing for deeper, safer stretching, greater blood flow and a better cardiovascular workout. Bikram also offers a beginner’s special consisting of 30 consecutive days of unlimited yoga.
Or you can spend a weekend combining a love of skiing and yoga at the Alta Lodge’s weekend retreat from January 5–9, 2011. This retreat is designed to help you connect with your surroundings, increase self awareness and develop your backcountry and resort skiing skills. The package includes: four nights lodging, all meals, instruction fees and yoga sessions. For more information call 801-550-3986 or visit altalodge.com.
All winter sports enthusiasts can benefit from the increased strength, flexibility, balance and cardiovascular capacity that practicing yoga brings. Whether a slope veteran of several decades or a brand spanking new boarder ready to make your mark, yoga will improve your game, your stamina and your resistance to injury. Just avoid the big trees.
- Bikram’s Yoga College of India 1300 East 9343 South,
1140 Wilmington Avenue, Salt Lake City,
111 Historical 25th Street B, Ogden,
Bikram Yoga Odgen
- Centered City Yoga 918 East 900 South, Salt Lake City
1550 East 3300 South, Salt Lake City,
- Imagination Place 1155 East 3300 South, Salt Lake City,
- Yoga Center
4689 S. Holladay Boulevard, Holladay