If you live somewhere where winter lasts forever, finding a cold-weather outdoor activity is almost a necessity. Snowboarding and skiing both require a great amount of physical effort from head to toe. We use concentration and focus so our muscles can respond to the always-changing terrain beneath our feet. In order to not catch an edge and wipe out, all of our muscles have to work together so we can seamlessly point it down the mountain.
After a long day on the hill, it can sometimes feel like you've been hit by a bus (or..maybe that's just me?) Yoga is the perfect remedy for sore + overused muscles and joints. Here are some great après-shred poses to help increase circulation and ease the soreness. Try to stay in each pose for at least 3-5 breaths.
REMEMBER: Yoga should not hurt. If it hurts, please ease up and listen to your body. Never push the point of strain just to get into a pose. Find your own balance of effort + ease in every posture. Give your body some healing love!
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Savasana)
- Relieves fatigue from head to toe by increasing overall circulation and re-lengthening the backs of the legs - great for tired feet and ankles.
- Restores energy and releases tension in the shoulders while strengthening the arms.
- You don't have to do headstand (The King of Asanas) to invert! Downward dog is a great alternative with nearly all the same benefits.
- Tip: Be sure to push all fingertips firmly into the ground, trying to maintain level weight between your feet and your hands.
Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)
- Re-lengthens the spine, reducing lower back strain.
- Alleviates tight hamstrings and ankles by stretching the backs of the legs.
- Tip 1: Most people will not look like this example photo. You'll get a great stretch even with your knees really bent, keeping your stomach on your thighs.
- Tip 2: Leaning your seat against the wall while doing this pose is helpful and therapeutic for those with tight hamstrings.
Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
- Improves flexibility in the pelvis and abdomen.
- Opens the hips while stretching + strengthening inner thighs, calves, ankles.
- Elongates the spine while maintaining core strength, increasing stamina.
- Tip 1: Experiment with finding the right distance between your feet. Aim for around 3 ft, depending on the depth of your practice. Align front heel with back arch.
- Tip 2: If looking up at your top hand causes neck discomfort, look down at your front foot. Remember, never strain! Listening to your body always provides a more fulfilling practice.
Wide-Legged Forward Bend (Prasarita Padottanasana I)
- Stretches and strengthens the hips, inner thighs, spine and backs of legs by relieving tension built-up from the impact of the changing terrain.
- Calms the body by increasing blood flow to the upper body.
- Tip 1: Place your hands on blocks, soup cans, books, or whatever you have access to if you cannot reach the floor with your hands.
- Tip 2: Experiment with the length between your feet. A good rule of thumb is: When you hold your arms straight out to the sides, your ankles should be directly beneath your wrists.
Bound Angle (Baddha Konasana)
- Great for lengthening tight groin muscles, which influence the tilt of the pelvis, which influences lower back tension.
- If done correctly, improves posture by properly aligning the pelvis and spine.
- Maintains flexibility in hips and knees, importantly the joints and tendons.
- Tip 1: Prop your knees up on blocks or another prop if there is any discomfort. If you feel pain, back off immediately.
- Tip 2: Try and tip the pelvis forward. If you cannot comfortably sit up strait in this position, it is best to come out and sit in Sukhasana (Easy Pose).
Half Lord of the Fishes (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
- Corrects stiffness in the neck and spine by lengthening, stretching and realigning.
- Massages internal abdominal organs, increasing circulation and blood flow.
- Great for relieving tension in the hips and lower back.
- Tip 1: Only rotate as far as what feels comfortable to you.
- Tip 2: Crossing your legs over one another is optional. If this is painful for you, don't worry about it and keep your leg on it's respective side.
Reclining Big Toe (Supta Padangusthasana I)
- Opens and stretches hamstrings, hips, ankles, and feet.
- Helps with increasing overall circulation and replenishing blood flow to the lower extremities.
- Provides great relief for sciatic nerve pain and other lower back issues.
- Tip: Using a strap, as shown in the photo to the left, is really helpful because you can control how intense the stretch is. Only stretch to the point of sensation, but not pain. Breathe into the tight muscles and allow them to relax and re-lengthen.
Happy Baby (Ananda Balasana)
- Relieves stress in the hips and groin.
- Relieves spine tension by creating length in the lower back.
- This pose actually makes you happy. I am pretty sure it is impossible not to smile or laugh when doing this pose.
- Tip 1: Sometimes it feels good to rock a bit side to side in this pose. It's like a little massage for your lower back and glutes.
- Tip 2: If you can't reach your feet (that's okay), bend your knees and grab either your knees, calves, or ankles and try to settle in. It may take a bit for the ease to settle in, but once it does you'll be glad you got into this awkward pose!
Child's Pose (Balasana)
- Rejuvenates the body, head to toe. Brings a sense of overall ease and calm.
- Relaxes the back and allows the spine to assume a natural position.
- Massages the internal organs, increasing circulation and blood flow .
- Tip 1: Your arms don't have to be at your sides if that isn't comfortable for you. Reach them out straight ahead if that feels good. It's your practice!
- Tip 2: Knees can be close together or wide apart. Again, at the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference.