Teaching Yoga for Skiing: Strengthening Asanas - Aura Wellness Center

Teaching Yoga for Skiing: Strengthening Asanas

yoga school in winterBy: Virginia Iversen, M.Ed

There are many different ways to modify Yoga classes in order to adjust the pace and intensity levels of the workout to better meet your students’ needs. When people think about Yoga, they often think of a languid, but relaxing workout that is practiced in a serene health-spa setting. However, the sequence or krama of Yoga postures and the pacing of your class will determine the level and results of the practice. For example, if you are teaching classes in an area where many of your Yoga students are dedicated skiers and snowboarders, you may want to include strengthening Yoga asanas that will support your students in excelling in these sports, while preventing injuries.

Yoga poses that strengthen the legs, back and core muscles will help prepare your students for a great day on the slopes and will help keep them injury free throughout the season. Linking the postures together through the breath and the poses of the Sun Salutation, including Upward Facing Dog, will further support their strength, endurance, agility, and focus when they are on the mountain. Some great Yoga asanas to include in a class focused on increasing strength and endurance during the ski season are Chair Pose, Eagle Pose and Warrior Three Pose. Fluidly linking these asanas together in tandem with the breath will further increase their effectiveness and challenge.

* Chair Pose or Utkatasana

Chair Pose is deceptively simple to practice. It is also a great quadricep strengthener and elongates all of the muscles along the side of the torso. Additionally, Chair Pose or Utkatasana also stretches out the chest and shoulders while it strengthens the arms. Utkatasana is traditionally practiced at the beginning of the B series of Sun Salutations. To guide your students through the practice of Chair Pose, have them stand at the front of their Yoga mats in Tadasana or Mountain Pose. Their weight should be evenly distributed between both feet.

With their next inhale, instruct your Yoga students to bend their knees as close to ninety degrees as possible and raise their arms above their head with their palms facing each other. In order to maintain proper alignment in the posture, the knees should remain in line with each other, 6-8 inches apart and face straight ahead. Remind your students to tuck their pelvis under in order to maintain length throughout the lower back and to keep their shoulder blades moving down the back. For a more intense stretch, have your students sink 6 inches lower in the posture for several breaths, and then come up to rest. Repeat two more times.

© Copyright 2014 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

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