Teaching Yoga for Skiing: Injury Prevention

If you are teaching Yoga in geographical areas that offer easy access to ski resorts, a number of your students may ski or snowboard on a regular basis. Skiing and snowboarding are exhilarating winter time sports, but these activities can also lead to injuries if the skier or snowboarder does not maintain muscular flexibility throughout the ski season. Many skiing or snowboarding injuries, especially injuries that develop from repetitive motions, can be ameliorated or avoided all together with a regular practice of Yoga asanas that keep the body flexible and in proper alignment.

yoga images Lower back injuries often plague avid skier and snowboarders because the muscles and ligaments along the front of the body become shortened if they are not stretched out after a day or skiing or snowboarding. This is particularly true of the muscles and connective tissue throughout the chest, abdomen and quadriceps. During the ski season, you may wish to include Yoga asanas in your class, such as Dancer Pose and Bow Pose, which effectively elongate the large muscle groups throughout the entire front side of the body. When the muscles and connective tissue throughout the chest, abdomen and quadriceps are elongated, they will be less likely to pull on the muscles of the lower back, thereby helping to prevent and alleviate lower back injuries.

* Bow Pose

Teaching Bow Pose to your Yoga students will help them to maintain flexibility throughout the entire front side of their bodies. A regular practice of Bow Pose will also help to strengthen their back muscles, further helping to prevent back injuries. This Yoga pose also helps to boost metabolism and increase energy flow throughout the body. Bow Pose is usually practiced after the Sun Salutations and standing postures, including balancing standing postures. When you are ready to guide your students in the practice of Bow Pose, have them come to a resting prone position on their Yoga mats with their right cheek resting on the mat and their hands by their sides.

Before practicing Bow Pose, it is recommended to guide your Yoga students through a series of less strenuous back bending postures, including Sphinx Pose and Cobra Pose, in order to ensure that their bodies are warmed up before moving into Bow Pose. When your students are ready, from a prone position on their Yoga mats, have them grasp the outside of their ankles and flex their feet. With their next inhale, instruct your students to gently push against their hands as they raise their quadriceps off the Yoga mat and elongate the front side of their torso. The traditional gaze or drishti for this posture is the Third Eye or a point just in front of them a little above eye level. Ask your Yoga students to hold the posture for three to five complete breaths, and then come out of the pose and rest briefly before repeating Bow Pose two more times.a

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