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Skiing with good form can be a catch-22. When you engage all the muscles you should be to turn your skis and absorb terrain, you ski more efficiently and more powerfully—but you’re almost guaranteed to be tight and sore at the end of the day. One area in particular takes a beating while skiing: your hip flexors. The muscles around the hip responsible for moving your legs can become tight from skiing in an athletic stance all day, limiting your range of motion in the hip joint. One of the best ways to treat these tight hip muscles: Yoga. “A lot of skiers have no idea how much yoga can impact their skiing, from increasing performance to preventing injuries,” says Ashley Battersby, a U.S. Ski Team veteran turned yoga instructor. If you struggle with tight hips, Battersby recommends hitting the mat and giving these yoga poses designed to release tension around the hip a try.
Instructions: In a low lunge with left leg forward, bring hands to the inside of left leg and inch front foot to the outer edge of the mat with foot tracking at 10 o’clock. Roll left foot onto outer edge and let the left leg fall open. Hold for 10-15 breaths. Repeat with other leg forward.
Instructions: Bend right knee 90 degrees, parallel to the mat. Bend left knee and stack it on top of right. Flex both ankles to protect knee joint. To deepen the stretch, inch fingertips forward to fold chest over legs. Hold for 10-15 breaths. Repeat with opposite leg on top.
More yoga for skiers: 4 Poses to Increase Flexibility
Instructions: Come into a low lunge with right foot forward and your back toes untucked. Reach arms over head while pressing your left hipbone forward; think about pulling right hipbone back. To deepen the stretch, grab hold of left wrist with right hand and extend left arm up to ceiling and toward right side while pressing left hipbone forward. Lengthen spine with each breath. Hold for 10-15 breaths, then repeat with on other side.
Reclined Cow Face
Instructions: Lie on back and cross knees tight together as if sitting lady-like in a chair. Keep ankles flexed as you gently grab hold of either knees, shins, or ankles (depending on your flexibility); gently pull ankles towards opposite hips to bring knees closer to your chest. Keep your neck long and press tailbone firmly into the mat. Hold for 10-15 breaths, then repeat on other side.
Supine Spinal Twist
Instructions: This is a two-in-one stretch for the spine and hips. Lie on back with both feet on mat, knees hip-width apart. Cross right ankle on top of left thigh with right foot flexed. Bring arms out to a “T” and slowly start to twist to the left until right foot meets the mat. Use your right hand to press your right knee to the opposite side. Hold for 10-15 breaths, then repeat on other side.
Meet your instructor: Ashley Battersby
After 17 years of competing on the professional slopestyle circuit, U.S. Ski Team veteran Ashley Battersby retired from competitive skiing to found State of Mind, a fitness and yoga studio in Coalville, Utah.
Looking for more tips to combat sore muscles and increase performance on the hill? SKI and AIM AdventureU teamed up with Ashley Battersby to design an online yoga class specifically for skiers. Yoga for Skiers focuses on increasing flexibility and balance as well as strengthening the entire body to help prevent skiing injuries. Learn more and enroll at skimag.com/yogaforskiers.