By Kimaya Singh
Practicing Yoga poses before a great day of snowboarding is important in order to warm-up all of your muscles and ligaments and to prevent injury. Snowboarding takes a great deal of balance and muscular strength. It also requires an ability to modify your snowboarding technique depending on the snow conditions and terrain. There are a number of effective and challenging Yoga poses that will help you to warm-up for the day. Before practicing specific Yoga asanas, it is advisable to begin with five to ten rounds of complete Sun Salutations. Sun Salutations help to warm-up all of the major muscle groups in the body, increase circulation and invigorate your entire body in preparation for a challenging day on the slopes.
Your snowboarding skill level does not ameliorate the need to keep your body strong and flexible so that you can take the turns to the best of your ability. Eagle Pose or Garudasana is an effective and fun Yoga pose for stretching out the shoulders, arms, upper back, neck and side torso. It also helps to hone your balancing skills, which are critical for snowboarding. Crane Pose or Bakasana strengthens and tones the abdominal muscles and the arms. It also stretches out your lower back. In addition, Crane Pose helps to develop and enhance a central point of balance in a position close to the floor that is similar to a crouching position on a snowboard.
Garudasana or Eagle Pose
To practice Garudasana, begin by warming up with several rounds of Sun Salutations. After you have warmed up, come to Mountain Pose at the front end of your Yoga mat. Pause for a moment and feel your balance. With you next inhale, raise your right foot and place it above your left knee then hook your right toes behind your left ankle or calf. Take your right arm and wind it under your left arm. Press your palms flush against each other in prayer position. Keep your arms at shoulder height and directly in front of you. Feel the stretch through your arms, neck and shoulder.
As you continue to breath, feel the rooting of your left foot into the floor. When you are ready, you can lean forward over the end of your Yoga mat and “fly” like an Eagle. This is a great posture for practicing balancing skills. This Yoga posture will also strengthen your quadriceps. To come out of the pose, with your next exhale unwrap your arms and legs and come back to Mountain Pose at the top of your mat. Repeat on the other side.
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