I stand in Mountain Pose, as instructed. I open my feet hip distance apart, turn my knees forward, and adopt a strong upper body with a firm but calm breath. When I look down at my feet, however, I’m not standing on a yoga mat. I’m standing on skis, sliding down a mountain.
This may sound like the makings of a bad dream for some, but for me it was a great moment during a recent ski lesson.My wise instructor has applied yogic principles all season to help me become a better skier.It’s helped me create happy moments like this one when everything connects.
Yoga has given me a foundation of awareness for my body that I often use when I’m doing other sports; particularly outdoor sports.I enjoy yoga simply for the sake of the practice.But I also love that my time on the mat prepares my body and mind for fun in nature.
In a few short weeks we’ll see the snow melt and the first buds of spring emerge.Winter recreation will give way to the next season of fun on the mountain. Trails for hiking and mountain biking await under this thinning blanket of winter snow.
I’m looking forward to rock climbing in the desert. I consider it vertical vinyasa.When I’m scaling the rock I move slowly and with control.I use the balance and flexibility I’ve developed in yoga.Steady yoga breathing helps get me through the difficult parts.I am completely present.When I reach the top I feel a bliss just as rewarding as a long Savasana.
Between rock climbing sessions, there will certainly be time for yoga.Sometimes I carry my yoga mat in my backpack.Other times I enjoy getting sole to soul with the rock and dirt.Doing yoga outdoors brings depth to my practice and soothes my spirit like nothing else. Any active, sore muscles will get stretched but yoga will also continue to condition me for the next adventure; mountain biking. Keeping control on my bike requires the arm strength and courage I cultivate in poses like Crow and Handstand.
This connection between yoga and the outdoors is a journey of awareness.Whether or not I am as stable as a mountain is still a work in progress.But I am getting more stable on my skis. Those moments of harmony bring me back outside and ultimately lead me to my mat.
Get inspired this spring to go outdoors and find your own connections between nature and your yoga practiceMost likely you’ll also have a great adventure along the way.