yoga for snowboarders? it’s about time!
anyone who has ever known anything about Yoga would have heard or maybe experienced first-hand for themselves any of the long list of health benefits associated with it. Increased flexibility, core strength and stability, healthy joints, better stamina, balance and co-ordination to name a few found benefits not to mention increased concentration and focus and also a calm, clear relaxed mind.
The popularity and links between yoga and surfing have long been established. Many surfers swear by their yoga practice and it’s clear from the endless number of ‘Yoga & Surf’ Retreats and holidays offered all over the world that these 2 disciplines are highly compatible. But wait, isn’t snowboarding often likened to surfing? So why hasn’t the snowboarding world caught on and yet made this same connection with yoga?
It’s about time snowboarders recognised that they too could really improve their riding through the practice of Yoga. Snowboarding relies on strength, stability and flexibility in the larger muscle groups, particularly quadriceps, hamstrings, lower leg and core muscles in the abdomen and back. All of which can be effectively targeted through a regular yoga practice. I find it amusing when men come to my class and are surprised and even shocked at how much strength, stamina and endurance are all required in yoga. Some still think that yoga is just for girls and then they’ll be sweating buckets and their muscles shaking when trying to hold the postures. At the moment I regularly teach a bunch of cage fighters and Brazilian Ju Jitsu martial artists and even they find the Yoga really strengthening in a complimentary way.
With this article I hope to highlight how yoga specifically helps snowboarding and also offer straight forward and accessible yoga warm-up and warm- down routines to prepare both for, and recover from a day up the hill.
YOGA HELPS IN THE PARK
- SPINS- Yoga improves your posture and leads to greater body alignment intelligence. Being properly aligned and having a good awareness of your weight distribution is essential for spinning. Andy Webb, Stepchild rider says, ‘I have to visualise myself doing the trick in order to land it’.
- RAILS- Yoga improves your balance, co-ordination and agility and therefore improves your ability to move at speed with precision which is helpful when hitting rails.
- KICKERS –Yoga strengthens the tendons and ligaments in the joints which gives you a greater ability to absorb shock from impact and so your joints are protected when landing kickers.
YOGA HELPS FREERIDING
- IN POWDER Yoga also improves cardio-vascular fitness and there are plenty of yoga postures that strengthen your core and your legs which is really useful for hiking up to find untouched powder spots.
- TREE RUNS Facing down the mountain side-on, on your board and having to continually do quick sharp turns mean that strong and stable core trunk muscles are really helpful for stabilising your body around your centre of gravity so that you can charge through any terrain.
- DROPS Being more flexible means that you avoid straining ligaments and tendons so that if you do take a bad landing, you bounce when you fall rather than crumble!
YOGA PREVENTS INJURY AND SPEEDS UP RECOVERY
Practicing yoga is a brilliant way of ensuring injury prevention, and aiding in the recovery process. For example, in order to prevent and recover from knee injury, it’s important to focus on equally strengthening and stretching all muscle groups in the legs, otherwise the knee joint winds up taking the strain.
YOGA CAN GIVE YOU FOCUS, CONFIDENCE AND COMPOSURE
Through the focus on building a deep mind-body connection, you’ll learn to really focus and concentrate 100% on what you’re doing. By taking deep relaxed breaths effort that you exert becomes effortless. With a calm clear mind, free of distraction, anxiety or fear you are present in each moment and each movement which will allow you to overcome any obstacle calmly and confidently with control.