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Yoga and Skiing

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Over the summer, I became hooked on yoga and now do it at least 4 times a week. I am a bit concerned because I enjoy it so much that my cardio and strength training are taking a back seat. I was wondering- does anyone else here practice yoga to get in skiing shape? Does anyone know of the benefits of yoga (or any dangers) in relation to skiing?
Thanks!
post #2 of 26
For myself yoga strengthens my body, in particular my back for which I have had surgery. It also improves my posture and makes me much more conscious of my body in space-this has really helped my skiing.
post #3 of 26
I've taken yoga for specifically that reason (skiing), and it definately has some very positive benefits (beyond overall health). I found a benefit in core strength, balance (which wasn't bad to begin with) and overall flexablity (which again wasn't bad).

General benefits that relate directly to skiing are definately flexability, core strength, endurance, balance, and quite often confidence.
post #4 of 26
One of the dangers of yoga for women in particular, is that they often end up neglecting their strength and cardio training after getting hooked on it. The problem lies in the fact that most women already have more flexibility than they do strength. In most female athletes, it's excess flexibility that gets them injured. Some yoga folks argue that certain types of yoga build strength, but this is static strength, not all that useful for skiers.

I recently had a minor MCL strain. Given the dynamics of the fall, it should have been either an ACL tear, or a complete MCL tear. My doctor says that either of those injuries would have been inevitable had I been practicing yoga. I was allowed to go back to skiing right away, but I was told to do no flexibility whatsoever for the hamstrings, abductors or adductors.

If you enjoy the flow of yoga, consider taking a Pilates or a tai chi class, that use flexibility in motion, and strength with length.

One other point. If you're taking one of those classes where they turn the room temps up to 105, expect to spend a good deal of time getting sick this winter. Everyone seems to think it's a good idea to go to those classes on the first day of the flu!
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
interesting... I knew there had to be some downfalls as well as the benefits that I am experiencing- increased flexibility, no more back pain, relaxation, proper posture and breathing, and just a general sense of well- being. I really find yoga so much more fulfilling than huffing away on the treadmill or pumping iron! But I guess I should be careful since I had a ACL/ MCL tear 2 seasons ago. If I continue to do some strength training and cardio as well, should I be doing these before or after my yoga class?
And no, I'm not in one of those classes where they crank up the temps! I also am practicing yoga in the comfort of my own home some days.
post #6 of 26
post #7 of 26
I've found yoga to be very helpful at improving my balance. When I start to get into the back seat, I try to pull myself forward and upright, and get my weight centered over the balls of my feet. I try to grip the ground and activate my feet and legs as I would in a standing pose. It really helps to get my weight properly centered.
post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by rossi9irl
interesting... I knew there had to be some downfalls as well as the benefits that I am experiencing- increased flexibility, no more back pain, relaxation, proper posture and breathing, and just a general sense of well- being. I really find yoga so much more fulfilling than huffing away on the treadmill or pumping iron! But I guess I should be careful since I had a ACL/ MCL tear 2 seasons ago. If I continue to do some strength training and cardio as well, should I be doing these before or after my yoga class?
And no, I'm not in one of those classes where they crank up the temps! I also am practicing yoga in the comfort of my own home some days.
Definitely afterwards. This is something that all sports medicine experts agree on. Excessive stretching prior to cardio or weight training can tear a muscle.

I used to teach yoga in my first year of college. My kinesiology teacher was ahead of his time, and told me that if I continued, I would be so loose jointed that I would never have a career in the fitness industry, due to chronic injury.
Almost 30 years later, teaching high impact aerobics, running marathons, and skiing for 5 years, I've only had one very minor injury.

Thank goodness for progressive instrictors.
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
I recently had a minor MCL strain. Given the dynamics of the fall, it should have been either an ACL tear, or a complete MCL tear. My doctor says that either of those injuries would have been inevitable had I been practicing yoga. I was allowed to go back to skiing right away, but I was told to do no flexibility whatsoever for the hamstrings, abductors or adductors.
I have a partial MCL tear. I was doing Yoga this summer. I wonder if this caused my further damage that had I not been doing yoga.

Explain why the Dr said what he did about the flexibility, please.

Thanks!
post #10 of 26
Anytime you over stretch a muscle, you weaken it. Think of a rubber band. If you stretch it too much, it snaps and tears. Some of the yoga positions put the knee in positions that they are not supposed to be in. The full lotus is a prime example.

A weak, over stretched adductor will offer zero support for your knee in any sort of twisting action. Once you have the injury, any additional flexibility will make it more susceptible to more serious tears.
post #11 of 26
Thanks, LM! That makes sense. The adductor runs on the inside of the thigh, right? And the abductor on the outside?
post #12 of 26
Being too flexible will leave you more vulnerable to injuries.
I think you should also consider your personal faith when you think about yoga; yoga IS a religion, as is Taoist Tai Chi. Not that I want to preach for or against any particular faith, I just think people should know what they are getting into.

See for example. http://www.classicalyoga.org/Page13.html
post #13 of 26
Ah, I've been avoiding bringing up that angle, but now that you mention it...
An Indian woman used to work out at one of the clubs I taught at in, where else, Cambridge MA. While raised in India, she had converted to Christianity. She often got really annoyed when the yoga instructor told the class that the chants they were reciting were secular, when they were not.

However, I will give them the benefit of the doubt, and say that they were clueless, as opposed to malicious. While you may know your yoga instructor by a name such as Maharata Khalsa, their real name is usually something like Marvin Kleinberg.

This happened, by the way, in club that thought playing Christmas music was discriminatory!
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost
Being too flexible will leave you more vulnerable to injuries.
I think you should also consider your personal faith when you think about yoga; yoga IS a religion, as is Taoist Tai Chi. Not that I want to preach for or against any particular faith, I just think people should know what they are getting into.

See for example. http://www.classicalyoga.org/Page13.html
Tai chi and yoga are what you choose to make of them, no more and no less. Any person secure in their religion should understand this. Later, RicB.
post #15 of 26

For the record

Tai chi chuan, while developed by a group of monks originaly, was developed for the purpose of defending themselves. they were successfull, and the art grew and slowly spred. It was considered so beneficial that the monks all practiced it for health and well being and the elite and rich adopted also. It was for these reasons, who was practicing it, that the communist government outlawed tai chi chaun after the cutural revolution. This forced many masters to leave china and migrate west, to our benifit. This is how we got exsposure to tai chi chaun. Of course the communists turned about face on their decission after a while, as they found out that this was the easiest and best way to encourage health and well being in their people, and of course, no religion is allowed. This soft martial art is just that, a martial art. Certainly those that developed it have left their mark, but a religion it is not.

Will practicing lead you to taoism? it could, but it could also lead you to a better understanding of the religion of your personal choice, make you wiser in how we relate to the world outside of our own body, or never lead you to anything but a better understanding your own body, and better health. In the end it just a martial art, that can be taken wherever we want it to go. In this respect it is no different than skiing. It is only what we choose to make of it. Later, RicB.
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost
Being too flexible will leave you more vulnerable to injuries.
I think you should also consider your personal faith when you think about yoga; yoga IS a religion, as is Taoist Tai Chi. Not that I want to preach for or against any particular faith, I just think people should know what they are getting into.

See for example. http://www.classicalyoga.org/Page13.html
I get a feeling that some people in this thread are hostile towards yoga, viewing it as trendy and useless. First of all, how many of you have seriously given it a try? And it has been around for thousands of years. My yoga instructor's name is Irene, not Maharta, and I do not consider it my religion. While it does have some more spiritual connections for me than a treadmill, I believe that it is what you make of it- some people in my class just come to relax and stretch, while others come for the workout. Yoga is all about being within yourself, and each person can have his or her own personal meaning attached to yoga.
post #17 of 26
Lisa Marie... which certifications (fitness-wise) do you currently hold?
**************************

To the subject of yoga, and all other forms of exercise, everything in moderation. Practice in a careful way, with good form and the guidance of a professional and you should have no problems.

If you do anything with improper form or with too much frequency you *could* have an injury - those of us who have been injured can attest to the fact that we moved our body in a way that caused an injury.

kiersten
post #18 of 26
I think the real caution here is that a person needs to have the strength to support their flexibility. One can easily become more flexible without being stronger, just as one can become stronger without becoming more flexible. Both are a form of imbalance in the body, and can lead to injury. Flexibility without strength compromises the joints ability to handle the increase in loads that a flexible joint expereinces in dynamic situations.

If all you do is mat work, then the increased flexibility may never be a problem, but if you take that flexibiltiy into real world dynamic situations, then the results of not having the needed strength to support the joints in their full range of motion can easily lead to injury. So LM's strength in lenght is very important. Developing this strength through static positions just won't happen. Movement through the full range of motion under load is the best way to achieve this. LM's closed chain exercises. Later, RicB.
post #19 of 26
Actually yoga helped me with my rock climbing, and my rock climbing helped with my strength. The best benefit I use from yoga (when skiing) is being able to "breath" when I get in burly conditions. I realize this is not to the original question, but it is a benefit I carry with me.

As for "strength" training I continue on a physical therapy work out given to me a while back to ramp up my quads. In the am I"m all about that and the push ups/sit ups (because I'm still too sleepy to realize how much I dislike it all). I yoga at night. And cardio I'm shamelessly lacking....so I try to ski as many days as possible and climb at the gyms during the week.
post #20 of 26
Just like anything moderationis destination. I took YOGA for about 3.5 years upt to about 12 hrs a week. I became fairly advanced and it felt good. However over time I did negelct the cardio aspect. I thne made a shift nad have been doing a lot of biking. last two season I have been doing some novice racing in Cat 5 level. I was biking around 200 miles a week. Over a period of time I began to negelct my felxibilty.


Repetative motion such as biking can take its toll on your joints and muscle structure.

This gets me to my point. everyone is different and everyone needs a different routine to feel like they are in shape. Example being that When biking I lost some fat but I put on a lot of muscle my resting heart rate was around 48. However I really did not feel all that good almost over exercised. I was 215 and about 13% body fat which is low number for me. I found that I feel best just under 210 with a little more body fat. I feel healthier and have more energy. I have a freind who si just the opposite. We a re tow completely differnt body types.

Take everything that you have learned and apply it to a system that works best for your overall performance, attitude and feelings.

Cheers!
post #21 of 26

It works for me

I have been doing yoga 2-3 w/week for about last 3-4 years.
My skiing has never been better, particularly bump skiing.
In fact it's been quite a startling improvement.
post #22 of 26

Yoga for Strength

I just read through this great thread and as long-term yoga practitioner as well as a cyclist/squash player/skiier, I thought I'd chime in:

I agree that yoga is easy for most women and I can easily see how they could become addicted to yoga while neglecting strength. Obviously, this can be dangerous, because in the case of an accident they can get twisted into a position(s) where they have absolutely no strength.

At least when it comes to the legs a good way to develop strength is to do a lot of repeat lunges while doing any of the standing "warrior" poses. If you do dozens..or hundreds of lunges...even without weights...you will be working the legs in a dynamic way that mimics that of skiing. This and a lot of sit ups, leg lifts and push-ups can easily be integrated into your yoga routine. A person who does this should be no slouch at either Pilates or Balance Ball exercises.

That said, because most men are rather stiff they might stand to benefit from yoga even more than most women.

Re. Religion:
Yoga without some mastery of "meditation" is primarily a physical as opposed to a "spiritual" exercise. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Tourbillon
post #23 of 26
How can you possibly "become addicted to yoga while neglecting strength"? Not being rude, just questioning. When I do yoga it totaly wipes me out and leaves my body shaking. Standing in warrior or tree is enough to make me cry for mercy. I'm not even a good or long time practitioner just a old guy trying to learn.
post #24 of 26

Standing as Opposed to Moving

Ryel--

I was responding to what Lisamarie said earlier in this thread:

"One of the dangers of yoga for women in particular, is that they often end up neglecting their strength and cardio training after getting hooked on it. The problem lies in the fact that most women already have more flexibility than they do strength. In most female athletes, it's excess flexibility that gets them injured. Some yoga folks argue that certain types of yoga build strength, but this is static strength, not all that useful for skiers."

I think there's a lot of truth in what she says...that is, dynamic (moving) strength as opposed to static (holding) strength is very important in all sports. I was merely pointing out that if you add a lot of lunges, sit ups and push ups into your yoga routine then you won't need to sign up for a Pilates classes or buy giant rubber balls and dumbells for your living room. If you're a poor hermit you won't even have to join a gym or take classes of any sort.

As for cardio, you'd be surprised how much cardio you'll get by doing a dynamic Ashtanga/Power/Flow yoga (as opposed to slower forms of Hatha) that's integrated with some pranayama and sport-specific weightless calisthenics. This is plenty for your advanced, or even expert, recreational skiier. Of course, the rules change drastically when competition enters the picture: Then, it obviously behooves you to work with weights and balance toys.

Yoga is a complete exercise that can lay the groundwork for a lifetime of sporting activities. It can allow weekend warriors to have a lot of fun without getting injured. The only thing that yoga lacks, as far as I can tell, is the physical pounding that is required to maintain bone density. The same thing can be said for swimming and cycling. Your weekend sports activites and some jogging should make up for this lack.

I should also note that I'm not an "expert" coach or a physical trainer. I'm just a normal guy speaking from my experience.

Thanks,

Tourbillon
post #25 of 26
Good points, Tourbillon! Like any system, Yoga has it's benefits as well as it's detriments, and, needless to say, the quality of instruction makes a difference.

Sadly, Yoga has become the PMTS of the fitness industry. Any hint that the system may not be a suitable as a total fitness regime, and may, in fact, be extremely dangerous and unsuitable for some people, is met with cult like commentary that would frighten even the faithful Harald Harb worshipper!
post #26 of 26

Yoga for skiers

1. Balance is a learned skill that gets better with practice. There's some (a little) balance training in Yoga, which is helpful for skiers--as any balance training would be. IMHO, you get a lot better bang for your half hour doing other progressive balance training on other aids (foam roller, BOSU, balance disk, bongo board, physio ball, or even a pillow or crumpled towel) especially if you add a strength component or a weight shifting component, which more closely resemble skiing.

2. On flexibility, the advice I got after my MCL tear was different than what LisaMarie was told, but that was probably because I have a different body: I had the classic guy/former runner flexibility imbalance with very flexible ankles/calves but very tight hamstrings/lower back. They wanted me to get more flexible hamstrings. (Although, frankly, that was the only direction I could go...)

3. Yoga's benefits vs. risks really depend on your instructor and whether you have the sense not to follow him or her into insane places for your particular body. The gentle stretching to the point of tension/listen to your body folks=good; the must-twist-into-pretzel-one-traction-fits-all=bad. Getting the foam blocks/belts help there, to introduce yoga to those of us who don't have a background in ballet.

4. In terms of conditioning for skiing, yoga has some benefits, but is not as tailored as weight lifting, plyometrics, balance training, ski-oriented-circuit training and the various things you'd read in Skiing and Ski Magazine's fitness archives online. BUT yoga really is amazing, a total zen concentration on the body. When I did it, I found it really almost mind-altering, as the whole world (and the internal monologue) completely went away for an hour. (No thinking--geez, got to get the tax return done when I get home...) In that respect, I actually found yoga just like skiing: Totally absorbing, totally centering, and after an hour I had a BIG smile....

SfDean
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