So what’s this Yoga stuff all about? I’m pretty new to Yoga, but very quickly have become a massive fan, although I have to confess I haven’t tried a kilted session yet! I started skiing as a kid and have spent most of my adult life in the Alps - as a young whippersnapper I could ski all day and party pretty hard and still do it all again the next day no problem, ah them were the days! However as the years went on I realised I was becoming less supple and began picking up more and more injuries. Before you know it, instead of enjoying effortlessly flowing down mountains, skiing every day all day and all season started to feel like hard work as I battled with lower back niggles, hip and knee joint pain.
I realised something had to change if I was going to continue sharing my love of the mountains for years to come. I stumbled on to yoga while trawling the internet looking for stretches to rehabilitate an injured hip flexor. I started doing some simple online intro courses and haven’t looked back since.
The first thing I discovered was how tight so many different parts of my body were. These imbalances in flexibility cause postural issues which have a knock on effect on your skiing performance, but more importantly you become so much more prone to injury. Where’s the fun if you spend all day trying to protect your body instead of just enjoying ripping down slippy hills? It takes time to improve flexibility but make no mistake the results are astonishing. I'm now able to crank out even higher performance carve turns enjoying all the sensations that creates without worrying if my lower back was going to give out or not.
As I am writing this I am watching dusk descend on L2A and a steady heavy snow fall. Tomorrow morning I will be on the first lift, I have time for one powder run on my way to meet my first client, and I don’t have to worry about tweaking something as I fly down through the trees back into resort. What can I say it’s like being a kid again!
The other physical lesson I learned from Yoga is that compared to the yogis I've seen tying themselves in knots with ease, my balance is pants! Yes pants, you won’t hear many instructors say that. Well, it's all relative I guess! Just because I ski down snowy hills for a living doesn’t mean I can’t still make huge inroads with my balance. Plenty of Yoga poses help to focus the mind on our feet and how we balance. As any of my clients will confirm I am mildly obsessed with homing in on the sensations in our ski boots to improve our performance and fun on the hill. So in the comfort of your living room or at your local Yoga class you can improve your skiing!
Enough about the body, what about the soul. For all of us, fear can be a massive inhibiter to learning. Be it fear of failure, fear of a steep icy hill or any other kind of fear for that matter. Well guess what, Yoga trains the mind also. I meditate regularly now and it helps me in every area of my life, be that skiing, business or personal.
As they say, life is not a dress rehearsal, we get one crack at it. So let’s be the best we can be and have the most fun we can have. Or as they say in the old country “you’re a long time deid”.
by Rod, BASS les 2 alpes