Practicing yoga has become a go-to way for skiers to build energy, flexibility, and joint-strength. We caught up with Ashley Battersby, a former X-Games and Dew Tour competitor to find out why she became a certified yoga instructor and how all skiers can benefit from just a few basic moves.
SKI: What are the benefits of yoga on athlete performance, such as skiing?
Ashley Battersby: Yoga can increase strength, body awareness, stabilization and balance, and proprioception. It also helps create flexibility to help decrease injuries. Breath exercises help with focus and staying in the zone.
SKI: How about the overall benefits of incorporating yoga into your workout routine?
AB: Yoga helps the entire body overall with posture, digestion, respiration, decreases stress, helps maintain a healthy lifestyle. It really is comprehensive.
SKI: What is yoga getting so popular?
AB: Yoga is growing so fast because it’s really an all encompassing practice and way of life. Yoga is for anyone, so at any fitness level, if your just starting your first workout program or a very active person, anyone at any age and any size can do it. If you can breath, you can do yoga!
SKI: How did yoga help your professional skiing career?
AB: I started yoga because I was a very anxious rider and always had tension in my body at the top of the start gate. My fears of failing would manifest and I wouldn’t be able to calm myself enough to focus on being in the moment at the completion, my mind was always one step further in fear of the unknown or what could happen if I went too big, too fast, or didn’t do all my tricks I had trained for.
I began my practice 13 years ago after my first ACL surgery to help with rehab and also the breath work to learn to calm my nerves and stay focused in the now. That brought me to more visualizing and meditation that increased my performance in just one year of practicing. That then brought me to a more spiritual place in my life, and now that I am retired from the contest scene, yoga has helped me in other areas and passions in my life. Mostly helped me with my transition of moving on from professional skiing since that’s all I’ve known for 14 years.
SKI: Why are professional athletes turning to yoga in greater numbers?
AB: Because it works! It is great for the body and the mind and your life. Breathing in workouts, during competitions, and anything like that is huge. You need to know how to control your breath, which controls your mind and body and connects them together. We always say your yoga starts when you get OFF your mat, because what you learn about yourself in the practice is translated and brought to your real life with your job, relationships, relationship with yourself and the earth around you.
SKI: What are the biggest misconceptions about yoga?
AB: That only fit and flexible people can do it. Like I said, anyone any size and any age can do yoga. And it’s for MEN too!
Developed by SKI magazine and Ashley Battersby, a professional skier who also is a certified yoga instructor, our self-paced online Yoga for Skiers class through AIM Adventure U will increase your flexibility and balance, strengthen your entire body, relieve sore muscles, and prevent injuries. It also will help you reduce daily stress, and boost your confidence on and off the hill. This all-access course focuses on both the mental and physical aspects of training that can benefit everyone on the mountain, from the expert veteran skier to someone just starting the sport. So join us here to make this the best ski season ever!