The idea of practicing yoga in the snow will probably make some people frown. However, all skeptics should give the idea a chance and read this article. If you love yoga, you will love yoga in the snow or “snowga”. The feeling of feeling the wind, the snow, the sun, and the cold air in winter actually intensify the yoga practice. Not only experienced yogis, but also skiers can benefit from the outdoor flows because many exercises are perfect as a warm-up program before skiing. In this article, we explain why we were so enthusiastic about the trend after our first yoga class in the snow.
Everyone who likes to roll out the yoga mat outside in nature knows what a big difference fresh air, sun and the sounds of nature have on the relaxation factor. “Feel the wind and the sun on your skin, the firm footing of your feet on the snow, and breathe in the fresh air”, with these words our yoga teacher started the session in the snow. The conscious sensing of nature and the breathing exercises helped us to arrive relatively quickly in the here & now and to ground ourselves. The relaxation of the mind definitely sets in faster than in a yoga class in a closed room.
HOW-TO: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Isn’t it too cold to practice yoga outside in the winter? Legitimate question! Of course, it is more pleasant to practice snow yoga in good weather in the sun. But again, the good old adage applies: there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. No one should stand barefoot in the snow during snow yoga! It is best to wear warm, loose clothing: warm functional underwear, thick socks, a hat, gloves, and non-slip shoes. Or just slip right into your ski clothes. Everything is allowed for snow yoga – as long as you don’t freeze.
Theoretically, you could also roll out your mat in the snow, but we would recommend that you only do standing asanas (yoga postures) in a row. The mat slides away quickly on the snow and is rather impractical.
We have to admit: Without a mat, with thick hiking boots, hat and down jacket you don’t feel like a yoga class at first, but after a few minutes the “inappropriate” outfit is immediately forgotten, believe us!
Vinyasa yoga, i.e. dynamic movements synchronized with breathing, is particularly suitable. We have linked the various warrior poses with other standing asanas. The snow is relatively uneven as a surface, so your own balance is challenged even more.
YOGA AS A SKI WARM-UP
By the way, snow yoga also works great on the ski slopes in full ski gear. You should always warm-up before the first descent anyway to prevent injuries. When skiing, flexibility is just as important as a good balance. Both skills are also trained in yoga practice. As you can see, skiing and yoga are a great match. So why not simply use a few good asanas for the warm-up training. Especially the ankles, knees, and spine are happy about a little attention in advance.
Good yoga exercises to do before skiing:
- Sun salutation: Gets the circulation going slowly.
- Tree: Trains balance and strengthen the ankle
- Chair pose: Warms up thighs, calves, and ankles
- Cat-Cow Posture: Warms up the back
- Warrior I & II: Mobilizes and stretches hips and mobilizes inner thigh muscles
- Warrior III: Strengthens back, legs, shoulders, arms, and ankle joint
- Windmill (bend forward in a widespread): Light stretching of the back of the legs and the back
Even better than a warm-up workout, of course, are regular flows. In doing so, you’ll strengthen your deep muscles and promote flexibility, stability in the tendons, and a sense of balance.
Snow yoga at Nassfeld
Where would be a more beautiful place for snow yoga than in the mountains? Plenty of sun and snow is guaranteed at Nassfeld in Carinthia, for example. Hidden in the south of Austria is an ideal place to relax: the Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Carinzia. Here, “yoga in the snow” is offered in the hotel’s free activity program. The meeting point is the Sonnenalpe, a small village in the middle of the ski slopes, just a 5-minute drive from the hotel. In this magnificent setting, we sought out a quiet spot on the cross-country ski trail together with yoga instructor Ulli.
No matter whether you are a yoga fan or a winter sports enthusiast: We can only recommend this experience to you. To let the soothing asanas flow in the middle of the mountains, our place of longing, was a very special and intense experience. As the sun shone in our faces, the corners of our mouths automatically pulled up and the flows were just fun.
Give it a try… In stressful everyday life, feeling for your own body, mind, and balance tends to take a back seat. Give yourself the time to focus on all this again – preferably with a view of the mountains! In this sense: Namasté!
More info: If you’d also like to try snow yoga at Nassfeld, be sure to check out the offers for the Falkensteiner Hotel & Spa Carinzia.