Yoga and winter sports

I’ve had the pleasure of spending an extended week  between Christmas and New Years in Lake Tahoe.  My goal during my vacation was to practice yoga and snowshoe and I wasn’t disappointed.  It snowed almost every day which left a few feet of snow as a base in the forest and then every time it snowed, we had fresh powder on top of the trails already cut by another outdoor enthusiast.

Snowshoeing in Lake Tahoe

Snowshoeing in Lake Tahoe

Nine full days of vacation gave me seven days to snowshoe.  A couple of days were just walking through the complex practicing but most of the time was in the forest.  Cold days kept the snow fresh and the powder deep.  When you snowshoe through a trail that’s already been cut the movement is smooth.  But when you decide to cut your own trail through fresh powder (sometimes going uphill) at an elevation of 6500 feet, that’s a different story.

As a daily yoga practitioner, I thought I was in great shape.  Everything was going along well for the first half hour and then you can start to feel the fatigue.  Fatigue in your hip extensors first, then you notice how tired your deltoids are and next I felt it in my hip flexors, then my abductors, biceps and triceps.  REALLY?  I’m supposed to be in good great shape!

So I started to think about what asanas I could do to give me strength with this exercise.  I came up with a list and just to be honest, I am already doing these asanas.  I probably incorporate this group of asanas a few times a week.  Which leads me to believe (based on this past week of snowshoeing) that the difference between me and another person who doesn’t practice yoga is that I will not be sore tomorrow!

First let me help you to identify your hip extensors and deltoids since they were the main things I noticed.  Stand up tall, place your thumbs in your hip crease (that’s the front side of where your legs meet your pelvis).  Your other fingers will be curving around the back of the pelvis.  Your thumbs are on the hip flexors and your fingers are around your AHAH!-  hip extensors.   Next cross your arms in front of you and lay them on your chest.  Typically your hands go to your pectoral muscles right above your breasts.  Now, slide your hands outward and grab the top of your shoulders.  The muscles on top of where your shoulders end and your arms begin are your deltoids.  See how easy that was!    

Here are a few suggestions;  Eka Pada Rajakapotasana stretches your hip extensors and hip flexors.  It’s also a good stretch for your quads.   Plank pose is a great arm strengthener and relatively easy to get into.  I like to move from Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog) into plank and next into Chaduranga Dandasana.  Check out my first you tube demonstrating the sequence.


Thanks for reading and watching!  Namaste.


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