Many people will be hitting the ski slopes over President’s Day weekend, and lift lines will continue to grow through spring break and beyond. The air may be thin at the top of the lift but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to breathe. In fact, Anne Anderson, a certified ski instructor from Mohawk Mountain in Connecticut, takes advantage of the fresh mountain air by teaching her skiers breathing and meditation practices as part of her lesson plan.
Snowga, a combination of the two words ‘snow’ and ‘yoga’ is the latest hybrid yoga class to hit the slopes. A blend of yoga and skiing, Snowga helps to improve your downhill skiing skills by incorporating yoga poses, breath work, and meditation. Created by Anderson, Snowga also helps skiers face their fears of the mountain and stay calm and relaxed on difficult terrain. “Yoga has a natural benefit of healing. It calms the mind and body and is a true compliment to snow sports education,” Anderson told Fox News in a recent interview.
Anderson is not the only skier who practices yoga on and off the slopes. U.S. Ski Team freestyle mogul skier Heather McPhie adds a little yoga to the days she skis. “It is so helpful in keeping my body more physically prepared and is a wonderful pause in my day where I get away from everything else and just center,” McPhie also explained in her interview with Fox News.
Snowga classes begin at the base of the ski mountain. Gentle stretches and breathing exercises are included in the first 15 minute warm up. The next 75 minutes take place on the mountain as participants practice yoga poses such as chair pose or mountain pose, all done while skiing. Anderson instructs her ski and yoga students to keep their minds and bodies calm by using the breathing techniques practiced in the warm up.
Although Snowga is currently only taught at Mohawk Mountain, many ski resorts across the country offer yoga for skiing classes and have had a lot of success helping skiers reduce injury and get warmed up and ready to hit the slopes. Olympic gold medalist Jonny Moseley told Fox News that he thinks yoga is a great way to prepare for skiing.