The yoga principles that you apply on the yoga mat can be applied off it too, even while doing simple routine tasks (see housework yoga). Ever thought you could do yoga in heavy snow? While exercising the body and flexing your muscles as you shovel off snow from your driveway, you can also enjoy a yogic experience. Let’s see how.
Note: You will need some specialized equipment to proceed with snow yoga – a shovel, possibly an ice chopper and a bucket of salt. Layers of clothing will depend on the weather condition being cold, chilly, or freezing cold.
Here are some simple tasks that are a must-do during snow time and where you can find opportunity to apply yoga principles:
The Plow Pose: Place the shovel in front of the body on the ground and keep walking forward until the load becomes too heavy to push.
Yoga principle: This act flexes the muscles as the pressure increases on them. However, ensure that you only push as far as you comfortably can. Do not exert or strain yourself. The whole idea of yoga is to remain stable and comfortable in any pose.
The Scooper Pose: Shovel one scoop at a time and throw it in a logical direction away from your sidewalk or driveway. This routine task-to-do during snow time can serve a dual purpose: clearing out snow while exercising the upper part of the body.
Yoga principle: Keep your neck and shoulders relaxed, be aware of the breath.
The Sweep Pose: Now that the heavy snow is cleared out, it’s time to get rid of the light fluffy snow scattered around. Use the shovel to make erratic sweeping motions in every direction.
Yoga principle: As you do this, keep your attention on the hand movement and the breath, observe the muscles stretch – be totally aware of what you are doing.
The Chop Pose:Raise the ice chopper in a straight upward motion and bring it down with a strong force until you meet the ice surface that you are clearing. You will feel all the bones in your body shudder, while a small chip of thick ice will also be removed.
Yoga principle: Observe the shudder. Can you still maintain a smile on your face?
So as we see, with a little awareness on the body movement and the breath pattern as you clear out the snow, this routine task can become a yogic experience. Inhale as you push the shovel into the snow and exhale when throwing the snow away from the clearing area. Also, make sure you equally use both parts of the body in all the movements. Do not exert one part more than the other. And most importantly, stay comfortable throughout the process.
At the end of the snow yoga session, it is recommended to lie down horizontally on a couch or on the floor (as you feel comfortable) in Yoga Nidra. and take a few moments of deep rest. You can also relax in a warm tub after some more strenuous sessions.
Warning: Lying down outside the house in a snow bank is contra-indicated.
Also, if you do not have a property that needs clearing, you may join a neighbor doing snow yoga. These yoga sessions are commonly held throughout the snow season. To enjoy snow yoga 100 percent, keep a smile on your face throughout the act and see the difference!
By Bob Williams from Canada