Blog Post

What do You Get When You Combine Yoga and Skiing? SNOWGA!

Welcome to the latest yoga inanity. A woman who has a passion for both skiing and yoga decided the two disciplines had a natural affinity and created a new form of yoga/skiing known as SNOWGA.

Steve Grant, writing for the Hartford Courant, encountered the creator of SNOWGA , Anne Anderson, at the base of Mohawk Mountain Ski Area in Cornwall, Vermont last month and watched her lead a group of skiiers in a yoga move known as the mountain pose. It was part of a 90 minute regimen conducted outside in the snow that is meant to enhance performance on skiis or snowboards through poses, breathing techniques and meditation.  (Note: no evidence that it actually boosts performance is provided).

Anderson is a certified Kripalu yoga instructor as well as a certified professional ski instructor, and says when one is practicing SNOWGA, the mountain becomes the studio and the slope becomes the mat.

Grant watched the group move through a series of poses such as warrior one, triangle and yoga mudra. About 20 minutes later, the group hit the slopes.

On one run, the class practiced the mountain pose again, this time on skis with their arms raised, hurtling down the slope without poles.

Included in the class are instructions on "centering meditation" and breathing techniques while skiiers are ascending the mountain on a lift.

Anderson extols the benefits of SNOWGA saying that it both invigorates and relaxes the body because stretched muscles are more limber and one's balance, stance and alignment are then improved. (Of course, any kind of stretching will do the same thing.)  Her classes include a brief introduction to the "practice and wisdom" of yoga, instructions on breathing techniques and "centering meditation," as well as "meditation in motion" while skiing down the slopes.

At the moment, Anderson's SNOWGA is exclusive to Mohawk Mountain where classes are sold for anywhere from $47 to $57 a class and are supposedly tailored to people of all skill levels. Of course, Anderson is busy making licensing arrangements to expand this latest yoga gimmick to other ski areas.

But it doesn't appear to be a new idea. People are already cashing in on the craze in Europe. This UK website touts snowga holidays in the plush resort of Val d'Isere in the French alps for only  $2,185 per week per person.

Considering the number of injuries sustained by people who practice yoga in conventional studios, I can only wonder what kind of risks people are taking by trying to perform them on a ski slope.

But besides all that, I wasn't at all surprised that a ski slope is allowing instructors to teach Hindu spiritual techniques on their slopes because, in our fiercely anti-Christian culture, as long as something isn't Christian it's okay to teach it.  But try to teach people how to relax their mind by meditating on a Scripture verse and you'll be staring down an avalanche of lawsuits faster than you can utter an "om" chant.