Skiing has an uncanny ability to awaken muscles you’d forgotten existed. Even people in superb physical shape can find themselves hobbling for the nearest jacuzzi and hot toddy after a day on the slopes. Advil used to be my best friend on a ski day, particularly early in the season when the joints were still creaking back to life. But lately I’ve been enjoying long ski days without any aches or pains, and since I’m not aging in reverse I attribute this new stamina to the power vinyasa yoga I’ve been practicing several times a week for the past 12 months.
Yoga strengthens all of the essential skiing muscles – hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, glutes, lower back and core. It’s not surprising that winter athletes like gold medalist ski jumper Lindsey Van and Olympic freestyle skier Emily Cook incorporate yoga into their training. Yoga not only prepares the body for skiing and other agility sports, it also helps to reduce injuries and minimize recovery time.
But the correlation between yoga and skiing is not limited to flexibility and physical conditioning. Both sports revolve around mindfulness, focus, balance, body alignment, gravity, breath control, movement, and flow. Yoga teaches athletes to listen to their bodies and respect their limits, an important philosophy that extends to the mountain. And yoga and skiing deliver powerful spiritual benefits through a combination of physical exertion, mental clarity, and a restorative connection with the outdoors.
If you’re in Park City come out of the cold and take a challenging heated Bikram or Power Vinyasa class at Tadasana. The owner, Gwen Fellin and her talented team of instructors will help you tone, center and detoxify in ways you never dreamed possible. And as you’re sweating through 10 rounds of Utkatasana Chair Pose, picture yourself gracefully floating though fresh powder on a bluebird day. Your quads may burn but your soul will smile.