The benefits of yoga and how it can prepare you for your ski holiday
Yoga is the perfect exercise to practise at home and what better time to start than now, whilst we can’t get to the gym or resume with our normal activities? And of course, it’s never too early to start planning a ski holiday. Our new temporary booking terms allow our clients to book their next holiday with us in total confidence, so what are you waiting for? It’s time to prepare ourselves and get planning!
We interviewed our local yoga experts to find out a little inside knowledge about the benefits of yoga and how it can help us with our skiing. Read on to find out what they said…
Photo Credit: Story Crafters
nicole (strength & serenity yoga)
Nicole (Strength & Serenity Yoga) is available to come to any of our chalets, or you can join one of her classes at the Morzine studio!
What are the main benefits of yoga?
Practicing yoga has so many benefits, and really it brings different things to different people, but I would say the main benefits are getting a body that is more functional for you. Physically, you can become more flexible, more toned, stronger and with better balance. You may find you up your energy levels, improve your circulatory health and protect yourself from injury.
It brings awareness of your breathing and breath patterns. We learn to lengthen and slow our breath, to help bring calm and to counter stress or anxious moments with our breath as a calming tool, and what is learnt in the yoga class finds its way to life off the mat too.
It also has enormous benefits for the mind, bringing calm and focus, quietening down the constant chatter of the brain, reducing stress and improving quality of life. For myself I really began to understand the mental benefits when I took a yoga challenge and did a class everyday for 14 days and it was as though time had slowed down. I suddenly had all the space in my head to fit everything I needed to do and more in, with no effort. It was, to say the least, illuminating.
can anyone do yoga?
Absolutely, men, women and children of all ages, from pregnancy to the elderly – you can practice sitting down, from very muscular sports people or those who have simply never tried it before and perhaps can’t touch their toes to, in fact, people who are over flexible and need yoga to build their muscle strength to prevent injury. There is a style, a class and a teacher out there for everyone. This last point is, I think, very important. Not every type of yoga, every class or every teacher will be for you. It’s well worth taking the time to explore styles and options to find something that works for you.
How often do you suggest doing yoga?
As often as you can and as often as you need. These might not be the same things, but we should try to avoid feeling bad about things like this – we have enough to worry about!
Personally, with my other job as a massage therapist I often have long days massaging so I really need to stretch out after that in order to not be stiff and to be able to do the same again the next day, so I do a short routine most days, but even 15 mins of yoga after a long day or during your day is great, or even maybe just sitting still, calming the mind and focusing on the breath (it’s not always as easy as it sounds!). If you can get to a longer class or two within the week then that’s amazing.
For a mountain holiday a mid week yoga class can really help ease out those not-used-since-last-ski-holiday muscles to get you back onto the slopes with the same energy and freshness as you had on day one.
how do the benefits of yoga help with our skiing?
The obvious muscle benefits are flexibility, improved balance and stronger muscles that can work harder without becoming fatigued. Core strength, leg strength and being used to balancing all play a huge role in you getting the most from your time on the slopes.
Spine health, better flexibility and denser bone mass means you are less likely to be injured should you fall and that you’ll be better at getting up! Good heart health and having practiced breath work mean you won’t find the high altitude an issue and you will be able to go for longer (not to mention go up and down the steep stairs to the loo in your ski boots at the mountain lunch spot)! The mental side of yoga can also be useful as you can focus on your skiing and your body and turn your busy mind down a bit, you may also find the time to enjoy the stunning scenery around you more too!
emily (e m i l y r u t h y o g a)
Emily (Emily Ruth Yoga) is available to come to any of our chalets, or you can join one of her classes at the Morzine studio!
What are the main benefits of yoga?
Yoga is holistic in the sense that it not only physically benefits us, it also has a huge impact on our mental health. Physically we build strength alongside flexibility, become more aware of our movements and gain a deeper control and understanding of the way in which our body moves. So whether it’s needing the leg power to pedal up a trail, get in the extra laps on a powder day without feeling that burn and fatigue, or creating more body awareness to take into the park, the strength and flexibility you build through a regular Yoga practice is only going to benefit you, regardless of season!
The mental growth allows us to listen to our thoughts in a more mindful way, and quieten the mind, especially during stressful times in your life, to find a little more peace within yourself. It is a skill we can all learn, and yoga enables us to do this in a really accessible way. A lot of people first come to yoga for the physical side of the practice, but keep coming back because of the space it creates within their mind.
How is yoga different from stretching or other kinds of fitness?
Although yoga definitely has its physical benefits, it’s the mindful aspect which sets it apart from other forms of fitness/exercise. Bringing full awareness to every movement and transition you’re making physically, and shifting your focus onto your breath, brings you directly into the present moment, which in the current climate where we can be watching TV, on our phones, whilst cooking/talking to someone else, being totally present is something that rarely happens for a lot of people!
There is an entire wealth of knowledge around yoga, thousands of years old, some of which I manage to share during the hour classes that we take together.
What would I need to begin yoga?
Yourself, and a spark of desire to find out what it’s all about! Ideally you might have a yoga mat too, but it’s not absolutely necessary! You can start off using any fitness mat, or even a towel if you like! Then invest if you decide you like it – simple! You can wear anything that’s comfortable to move in, so ideally it has stretch in the fabric and doesn’t get in your way.
Right now there are so many yoga classes available online. So if you have access to the internet, you’re good to go! I’m teaching all of my regular classes online now through Zoom, which is a live, two way, feed, so we can all say hello just like in class and stay socially active too! As well as that, I’m uploading some short but sweet practices onto my youtube channel for those times when you can’t fit a whole practice in.
Is there a specific type of yoga that helps most with skiing?
It really depends on what you’re looking for. Vinyasa Flow classes are great for waking up the body, moving the spine, and stretching as well as strengthening, all of which are ideal for skiing and snowboarding. Building up the muscles you need as well as stretching out any areas that are particularly tight from days up on the hill. You can add in a Yin class which is a restorative form of yoga, and focuses on releasing tension in the fascia (connective tissues in your body). Again, this is a great practice to aid any mountain sports, and is also a great mental detox.
How do the benefits of yoga help with skiing?
I think the physical benefits speak for themselves. If you’re stronger, more comfortable and aware within your body, understanding your movement on skis will come more naturally, and you’ll be able to ride the whole day up on the mountain without getting burnt out.
The mental benefits however are something I think often get overlooked. Whether you’re a beginner skier, overcoming the fear of pointing your skis down the hill, or an advanced skier heading out into the backcountry, or riding park, being able to remain calm in ultimately challenging situations is a huge game changer. This is definitely something I personally take off the mat and onto the mountain every day.
Nicole and Emily are both currently running live virtual classes to help you stay happy and healthy during these difficult times. Anyone is more than welcome to join and you can sign up using the links below. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can practice yoga during your stay with us this summer or winter, please just let us know! Get your body ready and get in touch to start planning your next ski holiday!
Visit Nicole’s Facebook page and sign up – https://www.facebook.com/strengthandserenityyoga/
Keep your eyes peeled for our next blog about the benefits of pilates with Georgie Kennington
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