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It takes tremendous strength, balance, and focus to charge down a mountain while strapped to a board alternating between your heel and toe edge, absorbing—or launching from—bumps along the way. This means snowboarders who spend time on the yoga mat are better prepared for a graceful, injury-free season of riding. “Yoga helps snowboarders develop body awareness and deliberate movement patterns, so they can advance in the sport, whether they’re experts or novice, once-a-year mountain-goers,” says Nicole Mucciolo, a yoga teacher to snowboarders of all skill levels at the Vitality Center in Vail, Colorado. Get started with these poses that strengthen your feet, tone your quads, and help protect your knees for many rides to come. Happy shredding!
OUR PRO: Writer and model Erin Hardy teaches a Yoga for Snowboarders workshop at her studio, The Yoga Mat, in Denver.
See alsoSnowboarding Pros Turn to Yoga
GOOD FOR toning the entire leg, improving coordination, and stretching the hip flexors
Start from Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose) and step your right foot forward between your hands. Bring arms overhead. Bend front knee deeply so that it’s directly over the ankle, and press through the back heel. Gently square the hips forward, lengthen the tailbone down, and draw the lower belly up. Find a focal point and hold for 10 breaths. Switch sides.
See alsoHigh Lunge, Crescent Variation
Utkatasana (Chair Pose) with Block
GOOD FOR Toning the quadriceps, inner thighs, feet, and core; helps promote proper knee alignment
Stand with feet hip-width apart and place a block on its narrow side between your thighs. Bend your knees and lower your hips to take a seat. Squeeze the block and check that kneecaps are tracking straight over the second and third toes. Shift weight into heels as you draw the lower belly up. Hold for 5 breaths. Shift weight into balls of the feet, lift your heels, and hold for 5 more breaths.
See alsoChair Pose
Utkata Konasana (Goddess Pose) with Arms in Prayer
GOOD FOR toning the feet and legs, coordinating balance, and building upper-back strength
Take a wide stance; pull heels in slightly and point toes out- ward. Bend your knees and sit down so thighs are parallel to the ground. Track knees over second and third toes. Press your thighs back while pressing pubic bone forward and pulling lower belly up. Lift chest and bring hands together in prayer. Hold for 10 breaths.
Virasana (Hero Pose) with Block and Mat
GOOD FOR stretching thighs, knees, and ankles; strengthens back and core muscles
Kneel with your legs close together, and place a rolled mat behind your knees and a block between feet. Sit back on block, rest hands on thighs, and bring index finger to thumb in Gyan Mudra (targets root chakra for a sense of calm). Lift the crown of your head. Hold for 10 breaths.
See alsoHero Pose