Snowsports and Yoga – the perfect combination
Our resident blogger and pro freestyle snowboarder Angelica Sykes extols the virtues of combining two of her favourite pastimes – yoga and snowboarding, in a week at a “Ski Yoga” retreat in La Rosiere.
Whether you are a lover of Yoga or a lover of snowsports, no one can deny the natural beauty and magic of the French Alps. If you could mix the landscape of La Rosiere with freedom flow yoga, snowboarding and impeccably prepared vegan and vegetarian cuisine, then you have a combination that I could not be more interested in. Luckily for me and many others, Alex and Philip at Chalet Rosiere have created a magical week that has just that. To be a part of their full moon retreat is to be a part of something that helps us return to nature and remember why skiing and snowboarding is so different to other sports; you’re outside, it keeps you fit and healthy and reminds you of how beautiful the Alps are.
How does yoga work to help me?
I have spoken before about how beneficial yoga is for people learning to ski and snowboard, using different stretches and different types of yoga to isolate muscle groups and understand how to maximise your power. It is also helpful for experts, teaching you how to achieve the necessary balance and equilibrium to ensure progression at a higher level of skill. Yoga helps you understand your body and then learn how to enhance your experience on the mountain.
This idea of isolating the muscle groups helps you focus on certain areas (termed buzz areas) where you need extra help. If you feel aches, strains or dare I say weaknesses in certain spots, yoga helps you move the energy to that area and in a non invasive, non intensive way, you can help the muscle grow. This allows you to introduce more cardio at a later point to build on your new knowledge.
For me personally, (I am not even ashamed to say it) my buzz area is my tummy. I have, what I affectionately like to call, a pizza pouch – my tummy has never been an area of strength. However, using the right techniques will get you to a point where even your buzz areas become strong and you can start bringing it all together. Your core is massively important for not just balance, but also for impact, as venturing off piste really works your stomach muscles. You can use Yoga, as I did, to make yourself a better rider.
Daily yoga sessions are vitally important for me
On a day-to-day basis, there is no better way to avoid the training ache than an indulgent yoga session and a hot shower to finish the day. I fully believe that this has made me a better athlete. I guess in some ways, a yoga session at the end of the day helps heighten/supplement my daily training ritual and has helped me eliminate the need for many “Rest Days”. But most importantly, yoga helps you focus your thoughts and I think this has been the most beneficial. I do get very stressed and feel like I’m not in control of where my career is heading, but after some yoga and deep breathing/meditation, I feel calm and I know which direction I’m heading in.
Follow me and try something new with a Ski Yoga holiday
The wonderful brainchild of Alex Volkers is this incredible combination of snowsports and yoga in a laid back, stress free, fitness orientated environment. But it’s not just yoga and snowsports – Alex and her lovely ski enthusiast husband Philip have made the Full Moon Yoga Retreat about an all-round spiritual and healthy way to grow as a rider. Whether you’re a complete beginner or an expert skier or snowboarder, they have a program to suit all levels. From the moment you arrive and are greeted in the insanely cosy “Chalet Rosiere” which is set back from the hustle and bustle of La Rosiere main town, just a short private ride away, you can leave your troubles at the door.
They take all the stress out of a ski holiday by having everything from the passes to transfers sorted, no – absolutely nailed. They gently incorporate an hour and a half of yoga in the morning and the afternoon as well as delicious vegetarian food and a chance to detox. All under the watchful eye of Laura Thorne from Lemon Tree Yoga, you will be guided through the Vinyassa yoga which has been expertly tailored to help you learn how to use you body and strength to your riding advantage.
But enough from me – here’s what the owner Alex has to say!
“We’ve noticed first-hand how much better balanced and focussed we are on the slopes after morning yoga sessions. This is also the first year that I’ve been without injury, and the first year I’ve combined yoga with snowboarding, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. It makes complete sense that anything that improves flexibility and strength is going to enhance your mountain sport performance, while anything that also has the capacity to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness at the end of the day will make the whole experience more enjoyable. Yoga and skiing/snowboarding are quite literally the perfect fit. “
You can follow my progress through the second half of the season via my Facebook page and also here on the Ski Club Blog. I’ve got an extremely busy schedule competing and filming for the All Girls Freeride Edit which I look forward to telling you all about next time!