Having grown up in Canada, there are a few things we’ve grown up loving. Maple syrup (one of our favourite natural sweeteners), toques (great for hiding bad hair days and keeping warm), and snow are among them. We also happen to love yoga. It likely comes as no surprise then that we are loving snowga!
Snowga is more or less exactly what it sounds like – yoga practiced in the snow. Snowga has many iterations, from a casual home practice to classes that involve snowshoeing or skiing to a destination where yoga is practiced in the snow before returning to the starting point. Regardless of what form it takes, we are loving it. It’s a great opportunity for not only a workout, but to enjoy fresh air and stillness, and to connect with nature in a season that some tend to avoid.
A few things to keep in mind when practicing snowga:
- Dress for the weather – is there an extreme cold warning? Maybe it’s not the day to be doing headstands in the snow. Barring extreme cold, dress in light layers so that as you warm up you can remove layers as needed (if needed at all). We also suggest a toque or headband to keep the ears warm, and mittens or gloves (particularly if not using a mat, as your hands would end up right in the snow)
- Pick your props carefully – keep in mind that a mat may help keep you from being directly in the snow, but you will have a (possibly very) wet mat to take back inside with you. Bring props that you are comfortable getting wet, or improvise with other objects (tree stumps make great blocks if you need them, a snow shovel to help with stability in leg balances, etc.
We love mixing snowga into our routine. Recently, we focused on doing several sun salutations and flows to keep our heart rates up and our bodies warm.
Our first forward fold was a bit tight with the cold but we soon got our temperatures up and made our way to chaturanga. Chaturanga is a great posture for core and arm strength, although we did stop short of moving all the way into the pose because we didn’t want to get a face full of snow! Make sure to keep elbows tucked into the body as you lower, before moving into upward dog, and then downward dog.
We flowed from three-legged dog to various lunge positions to open up the hips and groin, and to build up our leg strength. These poses may seem basic, but are a great workout. Plus, the uneven snow can add a bit of a challenge!
After several sun salutations, we did a few balancing postures. We’ll be honest – with gusty winds and uneven footing, they certainly provided a different workout but that challenge made it all the more enjoyable. Tree pose and dancer’s pose are a few of our favourites!
Have you tried snowga? Let us know your thoughts and your favourite poses to practice outdoors!