Why Yoga Is Good For Snowboarders

Yoga poses with Emilien Badoux will help improve your snowboarding

As the season is only about to start, we may have forgotten how much pain we tend to be in by the end of it. Cracking knees, aching hips, and the overall feeling that we’ve just been run over by a massive truck is highly common as the season begins to reach its end – and sadly, this is something that doesn’t get better with age.

For years I’ve been complaining about my (pardon my French) fucked-up knees and hips. Basically, as the trees begin to blossom – my body begins to perish. Come Spring Break, and I can barely walk. Whether this is due to the excessive consumption of alcohol or simply too much snowboarding, I cannot say. Nevertheless, the pain can be excruciating. Year after year I swear to myself that I’ll warm up before hitting the slopes and do my stretches when I get home – and I’ve still never done either of the two.

“Year after year I swear to myself to warm up before hitting the slopes and do my stretches when I get home – I’ve done neither of the two”

I’d also like to take a wild guess and say this isn’t an unfamiliar feeling to most snowboarders out there. So, what is there to do if we want our joints to still be strong enough to take the impacts of snowboarding at the age of 60? Well, yoga is a good start.

Disclaimer: We’re not saying that yoga will save you from pain or injuries, but it does a good job  of preventing the latter.

Emilien Badoux. Photo: Samuel McMahon.

It may have been forgotten over the years but snowboarding is, in fact, quite the exercise. Remember when you first began to practice those turns, taking your first hard slams and found yourself really struggling to get out of bed the next day? We use our whole body when we turn, triggering muscles that we do not normally use. We also spend the whole day cruising around in an awkward squat-like position, leaving our quads to overdevelop while the hamstrings grow shorter and tighter. This by itself can already result in knee pain, which is why we shouldn’t let the hamstrings go unnoticed.

“We also spend the whole day cruising around in an awkward squat-like position, leaving our quads to overdevelop while the hamstrings grow shorter and tighter”

Well lucky for us, yoga lengthens our hamstrings, which is a major help when you’re strapped into a board on a daily basis. Tight hips are another major problem we face, and not only due to riding, but also because of the long car journeys we have to embark upon to reach snow. Yoga helps to open up tight hips – the more flexible your hips are, the easier it’ll be to lean into turns and wind up into 360s without excessive use of the upper body.

Yoga is also good for the core as a lot of yoga poses require a good balance, and a strong core. A strong core also takes some of the weight away from the knees, which your legs will appreciate in the long run. As yoga involves a lot of wiggling about in weird poses, balance and stability are also enhanced – another thing we as snowboarders highly appreciate, especially after a heavy night out.

Emilien Badoux. Photo: Samuel McMahon.

There’s also the benefit of increased flexibility that may come in handy when you’re tweaking into a method, while the heightened focus gained will increase your overall awareness. All in all, yoga adds to your strength in various ways that are beneficial for snowboarding. It makes you more attentive of the positions and movements of the body, making you more connected to the body itself and its movements. Yoga also allows you to understand the body’s natural movement patterns, which may result in some pretty sick riding moves.

“There’s also the benefit of increased flexibility that may come in handy when you’re tweaking into a method”

How does this all prevent us from getting injured then? As the body becomes stronger and more flexible, and simply more aware of itself, you gain more control over it. Snowboarding can also be very straining on certain muscle groups, which can result in extra tension for a longer period of time. Yoga, on the other hand, can help us to open up these muscles – resulting in us being less likely to overuse the muscles in question (giving them time to rest is important).

Emilien Badoux. Photo: Samuel McMahon.

After this brief, hopefully informative, answer to the question ‘why should we do yoga if we want to keep on snowboarding into our 60s’, let us now break down the details of the video – ‘Yoga for Snowboarding with Emilien Badoux’.

First of all, there’s the ultimate whole body stretch, the downward-facing-dog, that Emilien’s decided to call ‘mountain pose’. To make the very essence of this pose easier for us snowboarders to understand, Emilien says “You need to look like Matterhorn”.

This pose strengthens both arms and shoulders, tones both core and waist, and lengthens those beloved hamstrings we’ve come to neglect over the years. It also stretches the spine and strengthens the back, which is always welcomed after a long day of riding.

“You need to look like Matterhorn”

The crescent lunge (lunge with your hands thrown up in the air) is ideal for stretching those tight hips. You’ll also get a nice stretch on both the front and back of your thighs, which might feel good after a full-on powder day. Adding to it all, the pose also strengthens and stretches the abdomen, chest and shoulders, leaving you feeling like someone’s just pulled all of your body parts in various directions.

The pigeon pose (or eagle as Emilien likes to call it) stretches the hip flexors, resulting in more flexible hips and thus allows you to turn into those sharp carves even faster. It also stimulates the abdominal organs and aids in digestion, which might come in handy from time to time.

Emilien Badoux. Photo: Samuel McMahon.

Basically, if you want to strengthen your leg muscles then standing postures are the way to go. Then again, if you’re aiming to get a stronger core, various adjustments of the plank pose might be worth looking into. Either way, there is a pose for everything, so whether your aim is to become more flexible, stronger or you simply want to prevent injuries, you might want to give yoga a go – and not quit after the first try.

Check out some other snowboarders who are hyped on yoga:


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