It finally snowed in the San Juans. After nearly six weeks of dry, sunny days we got the storm cycle of our dreams. Skiers rejoiced and the snow didn’t stop. Each day was deeper than the last.
It was euphoric. It felt like soul food – the rich and savory kind. It essential to the spirit to ski powder. You could see it on the faces of your friends and neighbors. A community that revolves around winter had been given it’s greatest gift.
The past weeks reminded me of this, of the bliss that you find in soft, deep turns. The ideas that had creeped in during the dry spell - of traveling to warmer waters - vanished instantly. I needed new skis. Bigger ones, for surely the snow would stay this way, forever.
After storm days that became innumerable, I started to feel the aches in my body. I couldn’t ignore the tuggings of sore muscles. The awareness that yoga creates can’t be dismissed. It holds me accountable to my own body. The connection I feel in my yoga practice when my breath and body are joined is the same I find when my body pulsing is through powder and my mind present.
The strength and grace we cultivate daily on our mats translates into the subtleties of the body. Such are the intersections of yoga and skiing. One informs the other, and the cycle goes back and forth. In lulls of snow I practice hard, on powder days I call on my body to show up when I need it. I wouldn’t have one without the other.
To keep up with the falling snow, here are 5 yoga poses to stretch and strengthen those powder hungry legs:
Starting with the left leg forward, bring your right foot parallel to the back of the mat. Keep both legs straight and find a distance between the feet that’s comfortable with the hips. Take a big breath in stretching your arms straight out. Lower the left hand down to the ankle, foot, floor or a block. Try to roll the left hip in and under the right, giving the straight left leg a nice long stretch.
2. Half Moon
From triangle, plant your left hand, bend your left knee and lift your right foot up off the floor. This is strengthener for the left leg and also a stretch on the hamstring, if the hamstring is tight bend your left (standing) leg a bit.
3. Low Lunge
Setting both hands down on the floor, step the right foot back to the end of the mat. Square your hips to the floor and lower down, keeping the left knee up and left heel reaching back. Keep your abdominals engaged and lifted. The right knee is at a 90 degree angle and the whole foot is on the floor.
4. Downward Facing Dog
Press firmly though both hands step the left leg back and come into downward dog. Bend the legs at the knee and stretch into hamstrings and glutes.
5. Half Pigeon
Step the left leg forward, left foot to right wrist. Try to balance evenly between the two hips Take a long inhale, lift and lengthen the spine and then lower down over your shin. If any pain in the knees comes up, back out and re- adjust.
words by RE:treat yogi, Naani Sheva
RE:treat offers yoga inspired adventure retreats in beautiful mountain locations around the world. Our luxury yoga holidays focus on invigorating yoga practice, outdoor adventure, majestic alpine locations, delicious local food + exclusive accommodations. We want our guests to feel like they can confidently come on a solo vacation + have an amazing experience. In 2015 we will be hosting yoga retreats in Colorado + Europe. To view our 2015 yoga retreat schedule, click here. If you have any questions, please call us on 970-729-8108.