Cardrona Team snowboarder Christy Prior is also a talented yogi. These are her top 5 yoga poses for snowboarding to help you get ready for Winter 2017.
Pranayama – Shaping the breath.
In my eyes, pranayama is a must for any snowboard routine. Working with the breath not only energizes you but it reduces anxiety, stress levels, depression, & the feeling of being overwhelmed. By breathing deeply & slowly you are activating your bodies parasympathetic nervous system which slows your heart rate, lowering your blood pressure & calming your body & mind.
One simple exercise:
- Find a comfortable seated position & close your eyes. Using your right hand, place your index & middle finger on the spot in between your eyebrows as you close your right nostril with your right thumb & breathe in the left nostril.
- Use your right ring finger to close your left nostril as you release your thumb & breathe out the right nostril.
- Breathe in the right nostril, then use your right thumb to close your right nostril as you release your ring finger & breathe out the left nostril.
- This is one round. Repeat this for 3-5 minutes. Once you have finished, continue sitting for another couple of minutes, calmly watching your breath before going about your day. Notice how you feel. Do you feel any different?
Adho Mukha Svanasana – Downward Facing Dog
A great pose to do either before or after snowboarding. Down dog strengthens & tones the arms & the legs while lengthening the back side of the body, decompressing the spine which also helps to relieve pain in the upper, middle & lower back.
Press the floor away from your as you lift through your pelvis. Draw your shoulder blades together & down your back creating strength & stability in your upper body which protects the shoulders.
Utkatasana – Chair Pose
A fairly straight forward & simple pose; bend your knees & move your seat back as if you were going to sit on a chair while remaining strong through your core. This position is fantastic for toning both the front & back side of your legs as you support yourself in a standing squat. It also strengthens the hip flexors, ankles, calves & spine whilst opening the chest & shoulders.
Vrikshasana – Tree Pose
Tree pose is a wonderful pose that teaches balance whist building inner & outer strength. It tones the muscles of the legs & abdomen, stretches the thighs, groins, torso, & shoulders, & builds self esteem & a feeling of accomplishment.
Pick a spot out in front of you to focus on as you shift your weight into one leg, placing the sole of the other foot on your inner thigh or calf, arms reach overhead. Feel supported & strong as you ground down to rise up.
Kapotasana – Pigeon Pose
The king of all hip openers. Pigeon pose is a great stretch for the glutes, hip flexors & psoas muscles. As a snowboarder it may hurt so good but it will quickly become a pose that you start to crave – it’s a love hate kind of deal.
Bend your front knee as much as you need so it feels comfortable. Ensure your back leg is straight & strong behind you & your hips are level. Point your front foot to protect the knee. As you progress in this pose you will slowly be able to get your front shin parallel to the front edge of your mat, once here you may flex your foot if this feels good for your body.
All images by Stef Zeestraten: