yoga pose for skiing

Getting ready to hit the slopes, or just back from a long day of whizzing down the runs and beginning to "feel it" in your thighs? Great news - Ustrasana, or Camel pose, is a deep back bend that stretches and strengthens your ankles, thighs, belly, chest, spine, shoulders, and neck. Try it before you sweep the slopes as a warm-up, or apres-ski as a relief for sore muscles. Below you'll find the steps for getting into this invigorating, de-stressing pose!

step one

yoga pose for skiers

Find your way into a standing kneel with your knees hip-width apart. Make sure that your thighs are perpendicular to the floor, and that your ankles are in line with your knees. Draw your breath up tall through your torso, and press your shins and the tops of your feet into the mat for stability.

step two

yoga for skiing camel pose

Rest your hands flat against the back of your pelvis with your fingers pointing down. Use your hands to support and lengthen the back pelvis as you stretch up through the front of your body. Pressing your tailbone forward in line with your knees, begin to open your face and heart up towards the ceiling. Remember to take deep, calming breaths. For some, this will be as far as you need to go. Enjoy the feelings of stretching and expanding through your front body! Hold here only as long as it feels comfortable if it's your first time. Eventually you may be able to build up to thirty seconds, or even a minute.

step three

yoga camel pose for skiers

For a fuller expression of Camel pose, continue opening up your heart, bringing your head closer to your feet by lengthening your spine against the support of your tail bone and shoulder blades. You may be able to lower your hands to rest lightly against your heels. Try not to push too far forwards or compress too much backwards - think of keeping space in the bend with your thighs perpendicular. Stay and enjoy the rush of this pose for anywhere from thirty seconds to a minute.

To exit, support your back pelvis with your hands as you lift and strengthen back up through your torso, leading with your heart first. Relax into a wide, seated kneel with your body folded forwards and arms stretched out ahead of you on the mat ("Child's pose") for a few breaths afterward. You may notice that Camel pose will stir up bits of stagnant energy or tension in your system. Breathe through the "carbonated" feeling and use it to energize your ski runs, or as a final release before you hit the ski lodge for a hot cup of cocoa!

Do you enjoy snowboarding as well? Check out our yoga for snowboarding post and add a brand-new yoga pose to your snow sporting arsenal!

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I love cross training tips! Keep em coming! Thanks.

Comment by Whitney — February 19, 2010 @ 11:39 am

I hope this is for cross country skiing and not alpine, because this pose can be very had and painful for most alpine skiers.

I’m a passionate ski racer (I ski 3-4 days a week) and an avid yoga practitioner (I practice 2-3 times a week) and this is a very hard posture for alpine skiers to do.

Most skiers have very bad knees and have a lot of trouble putting any weight on them.

The posses I found that are good for skiing are anything that opens your hips, quards, hamstrings, lower back, and iliotibial (IT) bands.

Some posses that I find that are good for these posses and easy on the knees are Halasana (plow), Salabhasana (baby backbends), Ananda Balasana (happy baby), and modified Eka Pada Kapotasana (modified pigeon pose).

Comment by Derek — February 23, 2010 @ 6:09 pm

Heh.. this article, plus the comments made me glad I hardly ever ski. I’d hate to mess my knees up, with all the yoga I practice.. Well, good luck roping in those people who don’t aspire to become yogis… ;)

Comment by Kat — March 4, 2010 @ 8:19 am

I love yoga ~ I love to ski (telemark)! My knees are not messed up and my yoga has only enhanced my skiing abilities.

Comment by Laurie — October 31, 2012 @ 7:20 pm

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