Snowsports Specific Yoga Retreats

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Mindful dynamic vinyasa yoga and core awakening postures inside at The Mountain Club on Loon before a half day on the mountain at Loon Mountain Resort followed by indoor targeted stretching and decompression to reduce soreness and as a sort of savasana for the day. In the past we have incorporated partner, acro and Thai yoga into both sides of this, which we can do again as interest allows.
You are welcome to ride the mountain with me where we can utilize snowsports as a movement meditation in itself AND practice postures right in our boots or equipment that release tension, build strength and increase effortless balance, and/or take some time to ski or ride on your own as much as you like.
Everything is optional 🙂
I know its cold. Come play outside, it makes winter more fun ❤

Yoga and Snowsports as Movement Meditation Retreats

Yoga and Snowsports as Movement Meditation Retreats 2015

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January 11, February 8 and March 15  9am – 5:30pm
The Mountain Club on Loon and Loon Mountain Resort in Lincoln, NH
for more information 603-568-5977 or deniseporterkemp@gmail.com
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Buy tickets for Yoga and Snowsports as Movement Meditation
Physical yoga is a mindfulness movement meditation, helping develop the capacity to recall effortless presence at will. On these one-day retreats we will utilize yoga both as a physical tune-up for snowsports and as a way to recognize the potential of mindfulness meditation in all our activities. Physical yoga is one way of experiencing the teachings of yoga, so that we can bring these teachings into the rest of our lives.
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We will begin with a morning pre-snowsports specific yoga practice to bring mobility to the joints and warm the muscles, activate effortless core strength and find our center of gravity and balance. By becoming present in the body, we also become aware with the body.
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After lunch, we head onto the mountain for a half day of snowsports, utilizing the physical practice of skiing or riding in the same way we could utilize the physical yoga practice – to intentionally and sometimes even methodically bring awareness into what we are doing while we are doing it. Once we have trained our mind and body to be focused and conscious, we can let go of some of the active effort, riding the mountain by responding to gravity and the contours of the land.
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I also have many possibilities for yoga in boots and right in skis and snowboards which I am happy to share with anyone interested, although no one is required to practice the yoga on snow! You are also welcome to ski or ride on your own at any time.
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After the lifts close, we return to the sanctuary of The Mountain Club to decompress with apres-ski specific yoga, holding longer postures to release tension and prepare the body for the next day with less soreness and fatigue.
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I will not be teaching snowsports per-se, participants need to be able to comfortably ski or ride blue runs. On each run I will offer subtle cues as focus points, and we can share our own tricks and methods with each other. You are welcome to ski with the group, and at any point, take some time on your own. I will share the way I utilize the practice of yoga to enhance my snowsports experience, to assist you in finding a practice that supports your own.
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There are three separate retreats ~ January 11, February 8 and March 15 ~ come to one or as many as time and interest allows. Space is limited and you need to pre-register to hold your spot.
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$100 each retreat, includes half-day lift ticket
$75 each, with your own lift ticket
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posts about snowsports and yoga…
Basic Snow Yoga
Sun Salutation On a Snowboard
Sun Salutation in Skis
One Foot Strapped in Snowboard Yoga
Dynamic Lunge Sequence for Before Snowsports
Meditative Hip Opening Apres-ski Video
…poems and other writings about snowsports…

Lunge Vinyasa Sequence

This closed hip/warrior one sequence helps strengthen and warm up the legs and joints to prepare for sports and physical activity, especially snowsports like skiing and snowboarding. Enjoy!
For more information, visit me at The Mountain Club on Loon for classes or retreats, or contact me for in person or online on Skype or FaceTime group or individual private instruction, including consultation to develop and maintain your own home practice, with optional customized photographic, written, video and audio reference.

http://www.deniseporterkemp.com

simple warm-up sun salutation

Appropriate for beginner to advanced…
Sun salutations, the foundation of vinyasa flow yoga – basically, placing your attention with intention on moving the body in rhythm with the breath – focus the mind on what’s happening while its happening, helping us notice the subtleties of actions and their results, as well as warm up the joints and muscles to prepare before or reset between longer held postures. Sun salutations are a useful way to begin a practice, and can be great as a short stand alone practice anytime.
I came up with this sun salutation at first for people who couldn’t or didn’t want to do a downward dog, or before coming into a first downward dog in a yoga practice. At this point I utilize this sequence myself before my own practice most of the time and begin most classes with it for everyone.
If it is too much pressure in the legs, or anywhere, to come into child’s pose you don’t have to bring the hips all the way to the feet, and if it is tender in your back you could go back and forth between upward and downward facing cat on the hands and knees instead of bringing the belly to the ground for upward facing dog. If your knees are tweaky this may aggravate them, yet if you feel alright to try it, putting a towel for extra cushion under the knees can help and go really slowly through the transitions. And if you want to add a downward dog, one fits nicely between the upward dog and the forward bend at the end. If you have any questions, let me know, and enjoy!
With props to my videographer Philip O’Sullivan and his iPod touch 5… 🙂

 

 

Golden Cauliflower Soup

Perfect for soaking up the warmth and sustenance of the sun on this crisp and golden autumn morning, as we shift from the final night, last night, and following day, today, of Laksmi, into the first night, tonight, of Sarasvati, in the Indian festival of Navaratri.  The goddess of good fortune and abundance in the Hindu pantheon, Laksmi is symbolized by the harvest and the light of the sun that nourishes us, and the color yellow.  Sarasvati, associated with purity and the color white, is the river of wisdom and inspiration that moves through us when we have cleared the path and built the channel strong enough to hold her.  This soup, both raw and pureed, is very cleansing and sustaining, as it moves easily and quickly through your digestive system and provides lots of food and nourishment in each bite without as much bulk in your stomach.  The fiber in cauliflower acts like a scrubbing brush that pushes other food through your system, the lemon juice an astringent that draws out impurities and leaves you feeling clean.  The tahini provides calcium and protein, the miso and soy sauce friendly enzymes, the avocado potassium, vitamin E and healthy monounsaturated fats that soothe your stomach and keep your skin supple and moist in this drying time of year.  Cumin and coriander both stimulate appetite and improve digestion, and make everything more delicious!  They also balance each other as cumin is slightly warming and coriander cooling in nature.  Turmeric is also warming, and is an anti-inflammatory that relives joint pain and stimulates healing in the body.  And it imparts the golden tint to this cauliflower soup that causes even its aesthetic to reflect the blending of the golden light of Laksmi and the clear white purity of Sarasvati symbolically occurring on this day.

Enjoy!

(This recipe and some of the nutritional information is adapted from the recipe for Curried Cauliflower Soup in Brigette Mars’ amazing cookbook, “Rawsome”, which is, um, rawsome, truly…I am not raw or vegan and yet including these types of recipes in your diet can increase your nutrition and add another way of experiencing food to your repertoire of food preparation.)

Golden Cauliflower Soup

½ head cauliflower

1 avocado

Juice of ½ to 1 lemon

5 Tablespoons tahini

½ teaspoon turmeric

teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander

2 Tablespoons soy sauce

2 ½ Tablespoons sweet white miso

2 or more cups water

Cut cauliflower into pieces that will fit into your food processor.  Peel and pit avocado.  Squeeze lemon juice through a strainer to remove seeds.  I use whole cumin and coriander and pulse them to a powder in a coffee grinder that I only use for spices, never coffee – coffee is too strong and will overpower the taste of all your spices.  Put everything into a food processor and blend until smooth.  Adjust water and all seasonings to desired taste and consistency.

Basic SnowYoga

If you are only going to do a few warm-ups before heading onto the mountain, this is what I suggest, in this order of importance.  They will help your balance, flexibility, strength and endurance.  Practice slow, steady breathing to keep yourself calm and cultivate an awareness of what you are doing while you are doing it, and if possible, of what’s going on around you without being distracted by it.  Just keep bringing your mind back to the breath.  This will serve you on the mountain.

Thanks again to Lauren O’Reilly, Training Manager for Loon Mountain SnowSports.

Enjoy!

Figure Four/hip socket, IT band, back, balance – This can be done sitting, even in the gondola!  Cross one leg over the other, if possible the knee of the standing leg is just above the ankle of the crossed leg, turning out the crossed leg from the hip socket.  Sit deep into it to increase the intensity, engaging the belly and your standing thigh, flexing your crossed leg’s foot.  For balance, focus your gaze on an unmoving point to stabilize, and bring weight equally over the standing foot.  It can help to roll weight toward the knuckle where the big toe meets your foot.

Forward bend/hamstring, calf, back – Feet hip or shoulder-width apart.  Start with knees bent to hinge at the hip socket, elbows on knees, back straight, chin slightly tucked so the neck is an extension of the spine.  If it is ok here, take hands behind the calves and tilt forward more, belly engaged, thighs lifting the kneecaps, shoulder blades retracting into the back and spreading away from the ears.  Continue lifting the hips as long as you can keep the belly touching the thighs with the back straight.  Bringing weight forward to bring the hips over the heels.  Lauren has her knees more bent in part to compensate for the forward tilt of the ski boots.  It’s fine to keep the knees bent – this will release some of the intensity on the hamstrings so you can hinge in the hip socket and keep the back straight.  At some point the lower back may curve slightly, as the belly is pressing into the thighs, to bring the head towards the shins, bringing the stretch deeper into the back.  In my first posture the weight is a little back and I’m lengthening my head away from the hips.  In the second I’m letting weight rock forward as i draw the head into the shins.  Keep the back very straight if you have  – or to prevent – any disk or lower back sensitivity.

Cross IT band/IT bands, lateral (outside) legs, lower back, back – For now I only have the pictures in skis, although this can be done in either pair of boots or without.  Cross one leg over the other, pressing both big toes to the ground to deepen the stretch.  Engage thighs up into the hips.  Belly hugs in.  Knees can be a little bent especially if this posture hyper-extends the back knee.  Squeeze the legs together and bring the front hip back into alignment with the back hip.  Back as straight as possible.  Do both legs.

Lunge – Thighs, psoas, shoulders, hips, back – This is the precursor to so many great stretches for snowsports.  Hone your ability here.  Front knee over ankle, although you can see with the forward tilt of ski boots the knee needs to be in front of the ankle.  Back leg at an angle rather than having the hips right above the back knee.  This protects the knee and deepens the stretch.  If it is better for your knee or you prefer for whatever reason you can keep the knee up in the warrior 1 variation like the third picture.  Keep the back heel lifted.   Telly skiers – you can do this right in your skis.

Pressing the hands on the knees, let the hips relax toward the front heel as the belly hugs in to tuck the tailbone and the shoulders roll back as the sternum lifts up to lengthen the psoas.  Enjoy.  Squeezing the legs together, slightly inwardly rotate the thighs to turn the torso forward and keep the stretch in the back thigh and protect the back groin.  If your back knee is up, straighten the back leg.  Front femur draws back into the hip socket.  If you feel stable try lifting the arms, the shoulder blades pressing forward toward the sternum to bring in a slight upper back backbend.  Resist squeezing your shoulder blades together to keep the upper back wide and open.  Its easy to get sloppy there – notice how much cleaner Lauren’s alignment is than mine.

Lunge twist/same as lunge plus front IT band, back inner thigh and twist in the back body – From the lunge take the opposite hand down inside of the front foot.  Squeezing the legs together and drawing the front leg back into the hip socket.  Front big toe grounds.  Belly hugs in to align and anchor the hips.  Twisting out of the hips, bottom shoulder rotates under the top, your spine the axis, spiraling the twist through your whole spine rather than letting it stuck in any one spot.  Both sides.

Camel/thighs, hips, psoas, shoulders, back – If this is too much, just skip it, the lunge does a lot of the same things.  One arm at a time may be more accessible.  It is my favorite on-snowboard stretch.  Belly hugs in, tailbone tucks down.  You can start with your hands on your hips and the elbows squeezing slightly together to open the chest without collapsing into the lower back.  This is key – you want the sternum lifting so the back side of the body is lifting too.  The one armed version helps this as the top arm is accentuating the lifting up.  Hips press forward to arc the body like a bow.  Fingers can face forward or back.  Try not to collapse the neck either – you have an arc lengthening from the tailbone to the base of the skull in the back-body.  I find it helps to breathe into the lower rib area.  When you come up, bring both shoulders at the same time, the head comes up last.

Downward dog/everywhere, esp. stretches back of legs, hips and shoulders, strengthens belly and arms – This will release/neutralize your back after the camel and/or lunges and stretch your whole lower back.  If it just doesn’t call to you, you could try it with your hands on a wall, fence, chair or table, or your ski poles.  If you skip this all together, definitely end with another forward bend.

Pressing weight down into the hands to bring weight back off your shoulders and back into the hips and legs.  Approximately equal weight between hands and feet.  Feet hip width apart, torso about 90* angle with legs.  Engage belly and thighs in and up towards the hip crease to lengthen the spine.  Its fine if the knees are bent, that can help you straighten the back.  Maybe gently peddle the legs to loosen the calves.  Your heels never need to touch the ground.  Ribcage hugs in to keep from collapsing into the shoulders and belly.  Shoulders draw up into the back while widening away from the ears.  So as not to collapse in the wrists, let weight press forward into the base of the fingers, where they meet the hands, especially the knuckle where the pointer finger meets the hand.  If you are trying the standing dog, hips are right over the feet.

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Finish with another forward bend…and take a few moments to stand where you are or sit if you like, and feel the effects of the postures integrate.  Take a few deep breaths, feel the belly expand with the inhale.  Of course you could do that on the lift too…

Meditative Hip Opening Sequence

Relaxing reclining sequence appropriate for all levels. Helpful for preparing the body for seated meditation, to calm anxiety, and as a restorative for athletes. Opens hips, It band, hamstrings, calves. I often begin morning or end afternoon classes with these postures.
When needed, keep a calm steady breath. When you can, let the breath breathe you deeply.
Recorded without music so you can practice in the silence or add your own music. If you are just watching the video for inspiration, the first leg is completed at 5:54. If you want to practice along with the video, I do the sequence on both legs.