Snowga. Part 2…

“Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.” ~Andy Goldsworthy

Snowga

Here I go again! Snowga from Park City, Utah this time! Darren and I have made it a yearly trip to go skiing out West and it’s the highlight of my year. This was my 3rd ski trip (ever!) and we went with a group of 10 people. We had a blast! I love everything about travelling and all the better when you spend the most part of your day outdoors being active. I honestly don’t know how people ski all day without stretching first (or how I did without on my first trip). Every morning I rolled out my travel mat and practiced for at least 20 minutes. My morning yoga routine stretched out my sore muscles from the day before and woke them up for another day on the slopes. My quads, knees, shoulders, and triceps were the most sore so I did whatever pose/sequence that felt good to my body.

ski lift

A glimpse at my snowga morning routine… (click on the name of the pose to see a full description courtesy of Yoga Journal)

  • 5 rounds of sun salutations… (surya namaskar A) (or more depending on if I needed more to get my muscles moving) Warms up the entire body. Slow and easy.
  • Cat/Cow… Loosens your spine and neck. Slow and easy, move how ever feels good to your body.
  • Downward facing dog… (adho mukha svanasana) Lots of breaths here. Move your feet around to stretch the hamstrings. Move however feels best! Drop down to your elbows into Dolphin Pose to get an extra shoulder opening stretch.
  • Forward fold with arm variation… (uttanasana) Stretches the shoulders and hamstrings… From standing, interlace your fingers behind your back. Fold forward over your legs and let your hands fall over your head with gravity. Feel the good stretch in your shoulders. Option to bend your knees and just focus on the shoulders.
  • Warrior I & II… (virabhadrasana I & II) Builds strength and confidence.
  • Chair pose… (utkatasana) The essential pose for snow skiing. Builds strength in the knees and quads and gets your body used to the skiers stance.
  • High lunge variation… Stretches the hips… Take both hands to the inside of your front leg (on the ground) and go as deep as you can. Elbows to the ground if it’s available to you. Option to drop your back knee and go into low lunge (anjaneyasana)
  • Pigeon pose… (eka pada rajakapotasana) Stretches the hips and glutes… Lots of breaths here. Wiggle around to find the perfect stretch.
  • Cow face pose… (gomukhasana) Stretches the shoulders and hips at the same time… Use a strap if you cannot yet bind your hands behind your back.
  • Hero’s pose… (virasana & supta virasana) Stretches the knees… Lean back onto your elbows if your knees say it’s okay and get a really good stretch in your quads and knees. This may be my favorite pose of all time.
  • Half moon pose…  (ardha chandrasana) or any other balance of your liking. This pose requires both strength and balance, two things very important on the slopes.
  • Easy seat with neck rolls… (sukhasana) Stretches the neck and shoulders… Sit however is comfortable to you and gently roll your neck.
  • Spinal twist… (jathara parivartanasana) Twist it out. Relieves soreness in the lower back and can help relieve upper back stiffness.
  • Corpse pose… (savasana) Breathe.

What kind of snowga post would this be without evidence of me actually skiing? Here’s the “official video” of my Park City 2014 ski trip… awesomely edited by my brother! That’s me, the pink jacket wonder. (not available on mobile devices for some reason. Watch on your laptop or desktop!)

Shanti,

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Yoga to the rescue {video}…

Warning… When you want to wear your yoga pants all day because “they’re comfortable” it’s not necessarily a good thing. You need to do more yoga in those yoga pants and less drinking coffee, snacking and studying. I speak from experience.

So here’s my confession… I’ve gained weight since I started grad school. The truth is that I wanted to wear my yoga pants 24/7 because my jeans were a little too snug for my liking. At first, I beat myself up and had tons of self-destructive thoughts. I called myself fat while inspecting my thighs in the mirror, I even beat myself down during yoga when my clothes fit a little more snugly. My thoughts were making me feel horrible. I knew I hadn’t been able to exercise or attend as many yoga classes as I would like, but my diet was still pretty good and so I didn’t understand why I had gained the weight. I then realized that I was turning to late night coffee to keep myself up to study. And of course, I was snacking. A lot.

The remedy… I switched from late night coffee to early morning yoga and it made all the difference in the world. Who needs coffee when yoga naturally caffeinates your body?!?! I also started up my no-processed foods diet again: Click to view: Fuel your life… which I wrote in my pre-vegetarian days so I just made some vegetarian modifications. I feel so much better! None of my outside stresses have changed, the choice to be more proactive about my health and well being came from within. Does that mean that I have to get up earlier to practice yoga in the mornings? Absolutely. I just look at it as a time-investment in my happiness.

So the thing about negative self-talk is that you can read all you want about how bad it is on your mental/emotional health but you just can’t change your thoughts because you’ve read one article about positive body image and/or daily affirmations. Even though that all sounds great, like most things in life… It takes work. For me, when I am conscious about my diet, get plenty of exercise and plenty of me-time I feel like I have done all that I can to make the best version of Lindsey. I’m still working on it, but my thoughts about my body are slowly turning back to happy ones!

Practice self-love… Whenever you catch yourself comparing yourself to others (“He’s so much smarter,” “She’s so much prettier.”) or when you catch yourself in negative self-talk (“I’m so stupid,” “Ugh, I’m so fat.”) STOP and name 3 things that make you special, make you unique, or that you’re really good at. Plant seeds of positivity and honor yourself as the miracle of light and creation that you really are!

Morning yoga routine… Today must be the most beautiful day I ever lived.

Shanti,
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