by Jennifer D’Angelo Friedman
If a star was born at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, it has to be Jamie Anderson, the fresh-faced 23-year-old snowboarder who credits yoga with helping her grab the gold in the inaugural Women’s Slopestyle Event.
While Anderson doesn’t think yoga should be an Olympic sport, she certainly brought her vinyasa practice to the Olympics. Below, the nature-loving California girl tells us how she chilled out with meditation, mala beads, and a few relaxing poses the night before her big win.
1. Do you believe your yoga practice helped you win the gold?
I feel yoga has helped me with everything in my life. Especially my snowboarding; between the strength, flexibility, balance and meditation aspects of yoga, it has helped me in so many ways!
2. You did yoga the night before your gold-winning run to relax. Are there any especially calming/de-stressing poses that you love?
I just flow with whatever I’m feeling, Downward Dogs, a few vinyasas and some balancing and stretching poses. Yoga always helps me slow down, be present and be grateful for my health and well-being.
3. You’ve said your favorite poses are variations on Handstand and Scorpion. Why? Any other favorite poses?
I love to get inverted! I also just love to challenge myself with balancing poses. It feels really good, and is really good for your health.
4. What are your favorite poses for targeting the abs?
Plank, and a great one for the abs is Headstand, while elevating your legs from the core, but not kicking up to headstand, slowing bringing your legs up to vertical. [Do it a] few times, it will get you!
5. Do you meditate as well? We heard you did a mantra the night before your big win.
Meditation is a big part of my life. I have recently been focusing on an energy-cleansing meditation, focusing on releasing any stagnant energy I’ve absorbed that is not serving me in a positive light, and letting go and making room for the good, positive energy. I was doing a mantra the night before to help myself relax and sleep. I was chanting Om Shanti—a 108 count around my mala beads.
6. You also wore your mala beads when you won the gold. Do you believe they helped you win?
I love my mala beads! A yoga teacher and friend named Leslie Ross made them for me and blesses each stone with positive energy … focusing on achieving your dreams and goals and grounding your energy.
7. We hear that you keep a power stone and a medicine bundle. Can you explain?
My personal medicine bundle is my backpack that I have at the top of the course. Each person’s medicine bundle is different and sacred, and not to be spoken of. I have some goodies in my bundle. And my power stone is a quartz crystal that I love and wear almost every day. The crystals come and go in my life. When I lose them I know it’s for the highest good, and to either give that energy back to the Earth (if I lose them on mountains or somewhere in nature) or if it’s supposed to go to somebody else to enjoy. It’s also good practice to let go of attachment.
8. What is your typical diet?
Mostly vegetarian. I try to eat a plant-based diet, but it is challenging in the winter months and traveling all the time. I just do my best every day to eat healthy, wholesome foods.
9. Your 85-year-old “spirit grandma” was cheering you on in Sochi. Who is she?
My spirit grandma is Gabriella and she is so precious! She is my neighbor at home and we just met a few years ago, and really connected. She doesn’t have any grandchildren and my grandparents on my father’s side passed away when I was young, my mother’s parents are on the East Coast and I love them dearly, but don’t get to spend a lot of time with them. So meeting Gabi, and having that special grandmother/granddaughter connection [where we] go for walks, ride bikes or swim, is so special to me.
10. You said you imagined your run when you won the gold. How does visualization help?
I think visualization helps a ton! I’ve been competing for a long time, and I truly believe if you can see and believe, you are capable.