When you are teaching Yoga for skiing in geographical areas that offer easy access to resorts there demand for your classes. After all, your students ski or snowboard on a regular basis. Skiing and snowboarding are exciting winter time sports, but these activities can also lead to injuries if the skier or snowboarder does not maintain muscular flexibility throughout the ski season. Many skiing or snowboarding injuries, especially injuries that develop from repetitive motions, can be made less painful.
Additionally, injuries can be avoided all together with a regular practice of Yoga poses. At the same time, a steady practice will keep the body flexible and in proper alignment. When teaching Yoga for skiing, we need to recognize common injuries. At the same time, it is important to realize the reality of prevention has limits. Lower back injuries often plague avid skier and snowboarders because the muscles and ligaments along the front of the body become shortened if they are not stretched out after a day or skiing or snowboarding.
Muscles and More
This is particularly true of the muscles and connective tissue throughout the chest, abdomen and quadriceps. During the ski season, you may wish to include Yoga asanas in your class, such as Dancer Pose and Bow Pose, which effectively elongate the large muscle groups throughout the entire front side of the body. When the muscles and connective tissue throughout the chest, abdomen and quadriceps are lengthened more than usual, they will be less likely to pull on the muscles of the lower back. This lengthening helps to prevent and reduce incidents of lower back injuries.
Benefits of Bow Pose for Skiers
Teaching Bow Pose to your Yoga students will help them to maintain flexibility throughout the entire front side of their bodies. A regular practice of Bow Pose will also help to strengthen their back muscles, further helping to prevent back injuries. This Yoga pose also helps to boost metabolism and increase energy flow throughout the body. Bow Pose is often practiced after the Sun Salutations and standing postures. Many lesson plans contain Bow after the balancing and standing postures, within a prone series. When you are ready to guide your students into the practice of Bow Pose, have them come to a resting prone position. Students should be on their Yoga mats, with their right cheek resting on the mat, and their hands by their sides.
Order of Events
Whole body warm ups should be practiced before practicing Bow Pose. Furthermore, guiding your Yoga students through a series of less strenuous back bending poses is recommended. Yoga postures, such as: Sphinx Pose and Cobra Pose should be included. Gentle backbends should be practiced, in order to ensure that skier’s bodies are warmed up before moving into Bow Pose. When your students are ready, guide them to move from a prone position on their Yoga mats. Then, have them grasp the outside of their ankles and flex their feet.
With their next inhale, instruct your students to gently push against their hands. Of course, as students raise their thighs off the Yoga mat, they will lengthen muscles within the front side of their torso. Additionally, the traditional gaze or drishti for this posture is level with the Third Eye or a point just in front of them a little above eye level. Ask your Yoga students to hold the posture for three to five complete breaths. Then, guide them to come out of the pose and rest briefly before repeating Bow Pose two more times.
Impact of Classes on Skier Safety
Ultimately, teaching Yoga for skiing is an injury prevention strategy. We can prepare students in many ways, but we cannot make their choices or ski for them. Despite all of our preparation, all forms of movement present a level of risk. Nevertheless, Yoga classes for skiers and snowboarders are a good time for bonding with like-minded people and they are a factor in preventing accidents. In summary, classes for skiers and snowboarders prepare the mind and body. Most importantly, our objective is student safety on and off the mat.
© Copyright – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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