COLUMN: Yoga principles can help your ski technique

The last column was focused on hand position and this week we will focus on getting into an athletic stance.

The last column was focused on hand position and this week we will focus on getting into an athletic stance.

It is time to unlock your skiing! How is your flow? Are you centered while skiing? Do you move dynamically through the turn? Are you aware of your breathing? Let’s make your skiing your new yoga style!

In the past with old straight skis, skiing technique was complicated. We had to learn to steer by sliding our skis sideways, carve by overweighting our outside ski by lifting the inside, and transition with awkward upper body movements at the pole plant. Today, our equipment works perfectly when we remove complicated movements and get more of a centered, balanced stance, flow through the turn and breathe Seriously, we can take yoga principals into our skiing.

This centered stance is powerful, balanced and quick while still being efficient and aligned so that you can ski your best while not overstressing your joints and overusing your big muscle groups which could end your day too soon.

To get into a good skiing pose we can leave our poles behind and stand with our feet hip width apart, knees bent, shins pressing on the front of boots. Focus on your breathing, feel your feet root into the earth, open your heart, and invoke the energy of the snow. I have no idea what I am saying here.

Notice that your joints are stacked vertically from your ankles, up to your knees, and through your hips. This centered and balanced pose is your neutral position that you will return to before the start of each turn.

Now, how do we bring this simple stance into our skiing?

1. With your hands on hips in your yoga ski stance go to an easy flat groomer.

2. Point your skis straight down the fall line and start gliding.

3. Begin your turn by gently rolling both skis over on edge, first with your ankles, then knees. Don’t turn your skis, but rather allow your skis to turn themselves.

4. Keep your body square to your skis and the challenge is to keep your hips square to your skis. See if your ski tips are lined up without having one ahead of the other.

5. You can use your hand to gently pull your hip back on the inside of the turn as it will naturally try to twist toward the outside of the turn and bring you out of alignment.

6. Allow your joints to bend naturally while maintaining alignment.

7. As you become more comfortable you can add more speed and turn shape while still feeling centered, balanced and aligned.

8. Breathe.

By the bottom of the run you will find that your mind, body and spirit are in perfect unity.

This simple aligned stance and disciplined movement through the turn will unlock your joints and allow you to ski with more fluidity.

Namaste!

Dylan Henderson is the head coach for the Whitewater ski team. He’s a certified development level coach with the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation and a Level 1 ski instructor with the Canadian Ski Instructors Association. His goal is to give you something to keep your skiing fresh every week even if the snow is not.

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