Whether you’re a pro, a seasonaire or a week-a-year snow warrior, Snowga mountain yoga is the perfect balance – the yin to the yang so to speak.
If you think Snowboarding and Skiing are the Cheese – then you need to know that Yoga is like the Wine! Like a fine cheese and wine combo, yoga offers snowsports a match made in shred heaven.
Being a yoga teacher and an avid snowboarder based in the French Alps I take great delight in blending and sharing my two passions in the form of SNOWGA.
Snowga is winter yoga for mountain people. Developed to compliment the needs of skiers and snowboarders. From pre-season training and injury prevention and/or rehabilitation to daily pre-shred mobility and warm ups to soothing post-shred lengthening and decompression – and so much more.
It’s very telling that many professional and amateur skiers and riders practice yoga. And not just for the obvious physical benefits. Yoga takes it a step further than most workout styles with tools to balance energy levels, to support ourselves psychologically and to achieve our goals on the snow.
I was treated to a weekend of Yoga and Ride with like minded mountain girls in Avoriaz 1800 courtesy of Roxy at the start of this season. Yoga with British Snowboarder Aimee Fuller (2 x Olympian in Slopestyle & Yoga instructor) and riding boards and fatbikes! I was in company of wise, motivated and energised women with these things in common. They all ride – they all yoga – and they are all inspiring.
(Picture credit to Charly Rosset)
Over the last 10 years teaching yoga in the mountains I have seen and experienced how powerful the partnership can be in Winter for snowsports and for all fall-line mountain sports throughout the seasons.
Yoga for skiers and snowboarders – the benefits
Here are 7 ways Snowga can compliment your shred:
- Improve your balance and co-ordination skills which goes to support the very essence of skiing and snowboarding – Balance in motion.
- Strengthen and lengthen the key muscles that are overworked and overloaded by a day on the hill to minimise injury fatigue and cramp and develop stamina so you can ride harder for longer.
- Learn proper use of your core muscles to stabilise the spine and develop your agility so you can adapt your skills to shred varied terrain in variable conditions and bail while avoiding injury
- Help you improve your focus, concentration and spacial awareness and manage your fears so you can keep a steady head while you challenge yourself, perform tricks, risk assess, gauge features and conditions, pick your lines and keep yourself safe in the mountain wilds.
- Mobilize the spine, hips and shoulders and stabilise the knees to enable you to ski and board fluidly and keep progressing your skills whatever your level.
- Become more in tune with how you feel on any given day and learn how to integrate your body and mindset to improve how you ride.
- Help us collaborate with our natural environment with improved sensory awareness to get the most out of our ride time. Since snowboarding and skiing are very sensory sports yoga helps us with the skills required to sense, adapt and absorb what’s dictated by the terrain and conditions.
Side effects of doing Snowga:
You ride harder for longer so you miss happy hour – being so immersed in the moment and are completely oblivious to the time….
You might turn into a nature hippie, distracted by the view, natural features, wildlife and skyscape….
As your awareness on the mat builds so too will you build more awareness and appreciation of our natural environment and perhaps a responsibility to protect and preserve it – which is a much needed quality these days.
Where can you practice Snowga Mountain Yoga?
You don’t have to be on-snow to practice Snowga (although it is a thing and we do it for fun because yoga outside is incredible and in the snowy mountains it’s simply extraordinary and creates a vibe of immense presence like no other if you ask me).
On the most part in winter we practice indoors somewhere warm and dry with a mat and a blanket and a block and a strap.
Come to CLASS this winter if you’re in the French Alps – Bourg St Maurice or Les Arcs area
CONTACT Bec Black to organise a session where you’re staying (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Do yoga ONLINE and check out the Snowga Winter Warmer series – 10min sessions suitable for pre-season training and pre-shred warm ups. Do a combo of 2 or 3 to get the best benefit.