Asana's for Alpinists: Getting Your Ski Legs Limber!

Yoga Poses for Skiers

Skiing is a one of the most fun activities to do in the winter. But being outside in the cold, while your feet are stuck in boots can be quite exhausting for you and your body. 

Here, you will find easy-to-follow instructions for yoga poses that can you help you feel amazing after a full day on the hill and will also allow your body to recover and help your muscles to relax. 

Especially for avid skiers, it is important to practice asanas, which focus on stretching the psoas and thigh muscles, tendons and muscles in and around the ankles, alleviate tension in the knees and strengthen the area around the knees. After an exciting day on the hill, full of adrenaline-filled runs, it is very beneficial to take some time and allow yourself to calm down, quiet the mind, focus on your breath and allow your body, mind and soul to calm down. 

First of all, find a warm space and come to a comfortable seated position on your mat, relax and begin to focus on your breath. Start to consciously breath through your nose, inhaling and exhaling slowly while step-by-step trying to elongate your exhales. 

Utthita Parsvakonasana - Extended Side Angle Pose (Variation):

Extended side angle pose. 

Extended side angle pose. 

From Tadasana (Mountain Pose) inhale and step out to the right, spread your feet approximately 4 feet apart. Then turn your right foot out and bend into your right knee. Knee and ankle are in one line and your knee is at a 90 degree angle. Then place your right hand on your knee and extend your left arm over your head and gaze at the palm of your hand. Make sure that your left heel is firmly anchored into your map, engage your core and breath steadily through the nose. Try to engage your shoulder girdle muscles and open your chest and lift your sternum. After five breaths, exit the asana the same way you entered it and then continue with the left side. Afterwards, hop back to the front of the mat into Tadasana (Mountain Pose). 

With neck problems, don’t gaze up, keep looking straight ahead. 

Benefits: 

  • Strengthens and stretches the legs, knees, and ankles
  • Stretches the groins, spine, waist, chest and lungs, and shoulders
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Increases stamina

Tiger Pose Variation

Tiger Pose. 

Tiger Pose. 

Kneel on your mat, with your knees hip-distance apart and then place your hands on the mat. Make sure shoulders and wrists are aligned. First extend your right leg back and make sure not to tilt your pelvis, bend your knee. Then with your left arm, reach back and grab your ankle, take a breath and on the next inhale reach your foot back and breath. Work with your breath here. Lengthen and reach on every inhale, relax on every exhale. Again, take 5-10 breaths and then slowly release and move onto the other side.

Benefits: 

  • Stretches the psoas 
  • Tones the spinal nerves
  • Relaxes the sciatic nerves
  • Relives sciatica.
  • Loosens up the legs
  • Stretches the abdominal muscles

Ardha Matsyendrasana - Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose

Ardha Matsyendrasana - Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose

Ardha Matsyendrasana - Half Lord Of The Fishes Pose

Come to a comfortable seated position, then bend your left leg and bring your left heel to your right hip, then cross your right leg over your left. The right foot and the left knee are as aligned as possible. Then inhale deeply and lengthen the spine and on the exhalte twist from the pelvis to the right and bring your left elbow onto your right knee. Your right arm is extended back and your hand rests comfortably on the mat. With every inhale lengthen the spine, on the exhale twist a little deeper. Your gaze is focused and you look to the side while breathing steadily and deeply. 

After 5-10 breaths slowly release and move onto the other side. 

Benefits:

  • Stimulates the liver and kidneys
  • Stretches the shoulders, hips, and neck
  • Energizes the spine
  • Relieves fatigue, sciatica, and backache

Virasana – Hero Pose

Virasana – Hero Pose

Virasana – Hero Pose

Relaxing into Heropose. 

Relaxing into Heropose. 

Kneel on the floor with your thighs perpendicular to the floor, and touch your inner knees together. Slide your feet apart, slightly wider than your hips, with the tops of the feet flat on the floor and press the top your feet into the mat. Exhale and sit back. Start slowly here as this pose can be very strenuous on your knees! If you feel comfortable, sit all the way down, in between your feet. Here, make sure your knees are touching and your ankles are parallel to your legs. Turn your thighs inwards and press your thighbones into the mat. Rest your hands on your thighs and breath deeply.

If you experience discomfort, grab a block or a thick blanket and sit on these probs. 

If you would like to deepen the asana, after 5 breaths slowly, begin to firm your shoulder blades against the back ribs and lift the top of your sternum like a proud warrior. Widen the collarbones and release the shoulder blades away from the ears. Lengthen the tailbone into the floor to anchor the back torso. with the help of your hands, lower your torso and lie down on your back, extending the arms over-head. Again, check the position of your knees (together) and feet (parallel to thighs). 

Benefits:

  • Stretches the thighs, knees, and ankles
  • Strengthens the arches
  • Great exercise for “Colorado Quadriceps” as it lengthens and stretches this big muscle. 

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana - Supported Bride Pose

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana - Supported Bride Pose

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana - Supported Bride Pose

This is another wonderful stretch for your thigh muscles and psoas, which are working hard when you shred. 

Therefore, relax into this asana and maintain it for an extended period of time. 

Lie down on your back, bend you knees and bring your heels as close to your hips as possible. If you can touch your heels with your fingertips, your on the right way! Then take one deep breath and exhale completely and on the next inhale lift your hips towards the ceiling, while pressing your big toes firmly into the mat. If possible, interlace your fingers underneath your tailbone and press the palms of your hands together. Again, breath deeply, gaze at your nose and bring your sternum as close to your chest as possible. Keep lifting your hips and maintain a steady connection to the mat with your feet. Make sure your thighs are parallel to the floor and engage your inner thigh muscles. 

Afterwards, slowly let go of your hands, and gently lower your pelvis onto the mat, stretch your legs and settle in a final Savasana – Corpse Pose: allow your feet to fall away from each other, relax your entire body, palms are facing the ceiling, close your eyes and allow your breath to calm down. With every exhale sink deeper into the mat, let your eyes fall heavily into their sockets and relax your facial expression. 

Remain here for 5 minutes.


If you love yoga + skiing, join us in beautiful Telluride, Colorado, for our Women's Winter Wellness Yoga + Ski RE:treat from February 18-22, 2015. This is set to be an extra special week full of fabulous women, challenging yoga, delicious food + world class skiing in America's most picturesque mountain town. RE:treat yourself!