Use this practice as a warm-up or cross-training sequence to lengthen and strengthen your body for skiing and snowshoeing.
As you head out into the snowy wonderland for winter endurance sports like skiing and snowshoeing, be sure to bring yoga with you. Yoga helps you develop the focus, breath awareness, and balance you need to stay present and healthy all winter. The repetitive, rhythmic movement of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing helps you develop dharana, single-pointed concentration. (Try using a mantra as you move.) The movement of your body coordinates with the movement of your breath, and the entire trek can become a meditation in motion.
Asana will help, too. The following poses lengthen and strengthen your body for better performance and enjoyment of winter sports. This sequence releases your upper body and builds stability in your lower body. It focuses on the glutes, which power your pushoff; the hip flexors, which initiate the next step; and the lower leg, which has to stay stable and engaged over uneven surfaces inside winter boots.
Two Ways to Use This Practice
1. HOLD Include each of the following poses as part of your home practice. To develop strength, hold each of one for several breaths at a time.
2. PULSE You can also practice the sequence dynamically as a warm-up before you head outdoors. In that case, cycle through several rounds for each pose, alternating sides where necessary.