Yoga stretches are a great addition to a skier’s routine. These yoga stretches for skiers add an extra layer to your practice, with longer, yin holds that are ideal for recovery after a long day of skiing.
As a Yoga Teacher and former competitive alpine skier in beautiful Italy, I understand the needs of those who like a good day of skiing and want to maintain their body and mind healthy. Remember, it is important to strengthen the body and get some mobility in before your ski day. This sequence of yoga stretches for skiers is specifically designed for after you have hit the slopes. It is not advisable to take before skiing, as Yin Yoga places positive stress on the joints, tendons, ligament and fascia and it is a good idea to let the body rest after your practice. It is also advisable to wait 30 minutes to an hour after your activity before practicing yin to get the full benefits.
In this blog, you will find my 7, favourite Yin Yoga poses for skiers as well as a guided video practice. If you don’t know what Yin Yoga is and you are here for the skiing part of this blog, this is a link to a blog where I briefly explain the principles of the practice.
But briefly, in Yin Yoga we try to find our edge, coming into the posture to find sensations but never pain, then allow stillness and time to work on the deeper tissues, holding for 1 to 3 minutes at least per posture while trying to relax the muscles. When you are taking posture on the 2 sides, try to hold the same amount per side. Be mindful when you come out of long-held postures, take it slow and allow the body to re-adjust. Without further ado, here are my top 7 post-skiing Yin Yoga postures.
WARNING: all of these posture can be quite intense and challenging. Before taking these postures, please make sure you are able to do so. Check with your doctor or healthcare professional before starting any new exercise. Beatrice Leone and Bea Yoga + Wellbeing cannot take any responsibility for any injury or adverse effects.
The “yin” version of a Low Lunge. You can come to all fours and step one leg forward or you can enter from Downward Facing Dog. Shift the back knee as far away from your hips as you can (don’t worry if you can’t go very far, it will depend on how stiff your thigh is), so that you are not directly on your kneecap and it’s more comfortable to hold. You can also add a blanket, a pillow, or anything soft to add support under the knee.
Let the hips sink. In this version I am using 2 block either side of my front leg to lift my upper body and get deeper into the hip flexors at the front of the back leg. But you can also have the hands on the ground either side of the foot, or walk the foot slightly out and rest the hands on the ground or on blocks to the inside of the foot. Remember to practice on both sides!
2. Half splits
You can enter it directly from Dragon before you switch side. Shift the hips back towards your back heel and start to straighten the front leg, until you feel a pull at the back of the front leg – you may feel it at the back of your thigh (hamstrings) or at the calf, either is fine. You can keep you upper body upright or come down to fold, round the back and drop the head. Blocks will help you soften a bit more and not have to think about having to place the hands on the ground, giving you more stability. Remember to take both sides!
A great posture to work on both finding space in the hips and strengthening the ankles. That as far as yoga stretches for skiers go, is pretty amazing! Start by standing with your feet hip-width distance and squat down. It might happen that the heels are not directly on the ground, that is fine, you can place a blanket or blocks under for support, you can even sit on a block. Bring you hands in prayer and gently press against the knees.
Avoid this posture if you have recently experienced knee trauma or if you experience knee pain.
4. Toe squat
Another pose that both opens and strengthens! Here you are stretching the soles of your feet and toes as well as strengthening the ankles. Start on all fours, tuck your toes and begin to bring the hips back toward the heels. You don’t have to sit all the way up to the heels, stop whenever you start feeling a put at the soles of your feet.
This pose can be quite intense! Just stay for as long as you can while avoiding pain.
5. Ankle stretch
Great to follow your toe stretch as it works as a good counter pose. You can take it one ankle at a time or both together. Start by sitting on your heels. Some of us might not be able to do this because of the knees, in which case place a rolled up blanket, towel or pillow behind the knees. If this is not enough you can lean back and lift one knee at a time, or both at the same time.
If this feels painful from the get-go, avoid the pose. You may try to take something like Child’s Pose instead.
You can do this one with the bottom leg straight or bent. Start by sitting with one leg long. Invite the opposite leg to cross over and bring the knees as close as you can. For many of us this is enough, if not, also bend the bottom knee. You should feel sensations at the outer hips. If you like you can also fold forward, adding sensations to the lower back and spine too. Remember to take it on the other side!
If you are suffering from Sciatica either avoid this pose or prop yourself high by sitting on a block or 2. If you have any spinal condition that does not allow you to fold forward, remain upright.
7. shoelace twist
Before taking your Shoelace to the other side, explore some twisting and assess how the thoracic area is feeling. Stack 2 block to the side of the leg that is on top, twist towards the block and take the opposite hand on them. Let the other arm rest behind you.
add relaxation after your Yoga stretches for skiers
There you have it, these are my favourite Yin Yoga postures for skiers. Don’t forget Savasana! You can lie on your back with your legs straight or your knees bent, you may even lie on your side. Make yourself comfortable. You can lie in silence, play some calming music or even a guided meditation.
Would you like this practice in video format? I got you! Here is my YouTube video: Yin Yoga for Skiers.
Would like to train with me for the skiing season? I offer private, online and in person session where we can work on your goals. I also offer private sessions for back pain and chronic pain. Please, do get in touch for a free chat.