Yoga with Benefits!
Practicing yoga or having a routine stretching sequence improves athletic performance, flexibility, muscle tone, balance, respiratory rate, circulatory health and decreases the risk of injury. The benefits are too good to pass up! Yoga is also a great tool to improve body awareness and mindfulness that can improve many lifestyle choices. Stretching every day, especially after an activity, is an important aspect of your health and wellness. It will aid in allowing your mind, muscles, joints, bones to function at their best! These yoga poses will help release tension and bring stillness after hours of activity.
Before stretching, make sure your body is warm. While stretching, make sure you breathe slowly and deeply. After stretching, make sure you continue to hydrate. Hold each pose for 3-5 deep breaths on each side, no longer than 30 seconds. Only do what feels good to you!
Here are some of my favorite yoga stretches for after a day of skiing!
Figure 4 Pose: With a flexed ankle, lift and cross one leg above the knee on your standing leg. As you balance, lower your torso forward until you feel a comfortable stretch in the hip of your lifted leg.
Supine (Modified) Figure 4: Lying on your back, cross one ankle above the knee and on top of your other leg. Hold the back of your uncrossed leg and gently pull towards your chest until you feel a nice stretch in the hip of your top leg.
Frog Pose: With a wide stance and feet angled towards the corners of the mat, squat down and rest your elbows on the insides of both knees. Gently press your elbows against your knees to stretch your adductor muscles as you keep a flat back.
Supine Half Hero Pose: Tuck one leg beside your hip. With your knees touching, slowly lower back to stretch your quads. If you are less flexible stay sitting up, or try leaning back elbows first. This stretch can also be completed while standing and holding your bent leg with your hand as you balance on your other leg.
Downward Facing Dog: Starting from hands and knees, tuck your toes and extend your legs but keep a slight bend in your knees. Press hands and feet evenly through the ground with your tail lifted. Draw your shoulder blades flat onto your upper ribs, drawing your chest towards your thighs as you gaze in between your feet. Pedal out your feet, or hold for hamstrings and calves to be elongated.
Flat Back Forward Fold: With a strong core and straight back, lift your upper body up and forward, as your lower body roots down and back. You should feel a good stretch on your back side through your hamstrings and glutes, while strengthening back muscles.
Wide Legged Forward Fold: With a wide stance and a slight bend in your knees, reach down to your calves or ankles. Let your spine and neck traction down, or actively pull your chest closer to the ground as you stretch your back side. Don't forget to breath, and come out of this pose slowly with soft knees.
Torso Twist: Lying on your back, bring one knee into your chest. Draw your bent knee across your body as you keep your shoulder blades on the mat while looking in the opposite direction.
Happy Baby: Grab the outside edges of both feet while your back stays flat on the mat. Gently pull down with each exhale.
Stretch evenly on both sides, relax, and drink lots of water. Your body deserves it after long days on the slopes!
More #FitnessFriday inspiration:
~XOXO, Bring on the SNOW!