Yoga on the Slopes

By: Jenay Aiksnoras

We all know that the only way to truly prepare for Winter sports is to get out there and do them. Whether you are heading to Heavenly or Kirkwood, Squaw or Sierra at Tahoe, Yoga Asana and Pranayama as well as mindful practices can help you to feel strong, safe and aware while out on the snow. Try out these simple practices to help you enjoy this year’s season. You won’t regret it.

Yoga on the Slopes backcountry poser

1) Asana (Poses)

There are many Yoga asana (poses) that can help you to strengthen as well as recover from your day out on the slopes. An experienced and knowledgeable instructor will be able to guide you through theses poses and teach you how to use them in a way that helps you prepare for your day out, then release afterward.

To Prepare:

Yudrasana (Lunge) – raising and lowering between high and low lunges.

Deviasana (Goddess) – holding, and also shifting your upper body from side-to-side.

Virabhadrasana Dvi (Warrior Two) – holding, as well as rotating.

To Recover:

Parsvottanasana – intense side stretch.

Supta Virasana – reclined hero

Svastikasana – auspicious pose/reclined twist variation

SOS Ski Day Lake Tahoe

2) Pranayama (Conscious Breath)

If you’re heading out to the resort you are unlikely to be the only one doing so.  You can prepare for and remain relaxed while sharing the mountain by applying a simple breathing techniques.  Not only will they help you to remain calm and patient in lift lines.  Pranayama practices can also help you to reduce stress levels while you are out and about traveling and visiting the area.

Victorious/Powerful Breathing (Ujjayi):

Breathe in and out of your nose only.

Constrict the back of your throat slightly so that your breath is audible to you, only.

Feel your breath as it moves in and out of your throat.

Slow your breathing down so that each inhale and exhale is as long as you can make it.

Costumes on the Slopes Lake Tahoe

3) Dharana (Mindful Practice)

We can easily become caught up in the cycle of activity and buzz around us while we are out on the slopes.  There are people moving everywhere and in every direction.  It’s a good idea to step out of the way, look around, and observe our circumstances every once in a while.

Be sure to follow these simple mountain rules to keep yourself and others safe:

  • Move to the side of the trail if you need to stop for any reason.  While waiting for friends, fixing your gear or taking a break, move out of the way of those who are riding.
  • Be considerate of others by keeping your backpack, poles and gear close to your body while moving around or riding the lift.  Wear headphones if you like to listen to music and keep the volume at a level that still allows you to hear the liftee and those around you in the case that someone is trying to get your attention.
  • Stay in control of yourself, even if your friends are bombing down the slope ahead of you.  Most of us don’t get to ski every day.  Honor your abilities and be honest about how much control you really have over your board or skis.  Everyone, including that 5-year-old grom crushing it on the bumps will have more fun when staying in control.

On-Mountain Mindfulness:

Find a spot on the side of the trail, pull up a chair, or head into the lodge and relax for a few minutes.  Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you.  Enjoy the crisp air and the swish of others sliding by.

To learn more about the poses, breath work and mindfulness practices that keep Jenay peaceful during Tahoe Winter visit

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