Yoga for snowboarding, a combination that has changed the way I ride.
I am so glad yoga came into my life, a force of peace and tranquillity. I started practising yoga about a year ago, in a time where I felt I needed something to help rationalise, well, everything in my life. After last season, I know my competitive career was a success, I still doubted myself, I still looked for gaps in everything I did, when I should have been commending myself for working hard and reaping the rewards. Yoga helped me look inwards, find the appreciation, the serenity and peace I needed. Separately this winter season where the success and failures in my snowboarding career have been totally different, I again turn to yoga for the support.
Yoga is a way of life, its not Jennifer Aniston drinking vegan smoothies, its not going to a class once a week and saying you got all zen from that 1 hour. Although, I’m sure Kelly would agree, everyone must be encouraged to take part and do whatever they need to do to fit yoga into their lives; but for me as a professional athlete, I don’t want to be a cafeteria yogi, I want to try and embody every aspect to ensure I have all the resources I need to be a better athlete. That is why the yoga retreat really changed so much for me. Being around similarly yogic people and embodying the lifestyle even down to the cuisine and the general “Vibe”, I wanted to carry it on to my everyday life. What I mean is, exploring the options of a vegan diet, (as vegan as I can be living in Italy and being from an Italian family) certainly cutting out alcohol, allowing myself the sleep I need, being kind and honourable and doing all I can to really dedicate to my practice and clear my mind to let the yoga guide me.
But how does yoga benefit me as a snowboarder? I cant even begin to tell you how much. If I had to summarise my personal discipline (Freeride/backcountry snowboarding) in simplistic terms, you need strength, endurance and a sense of calm and pensive nature. Now, I had really only practiced Vinyasa yoga, but during the retreat, Kelly blew my mind to the wonders of Iyenger and Ashtanga yoga. These practices helped me explore new muscle groups, building on my strength, in the core and in the weaker areas of my arms. The yoga retreat helped me focus on my breathing; at the top of a couloir, about to drop in or while on a competition, I need calm. The focus on breathing and meditation has taught me skills I can use to really centre myself, I can think pragmatically and rationally but not only that, I have learnt to hold my poses for longer and really feel the power of yoga through ever corner of my body.
The retreat certainly inspired and motivated me. I am now equipped with more techniques to go forward into my summer season of training. Not only that but the retreat was sheer bliss, Chalet Rosiere have really got a good thing going, such a prime location, it’s quiet and set back away from the main hustle and bustle of La Rosiere, Ian the chef was on point, every meal exceeding the last and Kelly- well, Kelly is my guide, her calm and serene nature was just what I needed to discover my inner yogi. The combination of deep house too was incredible. Kelly has really given a lot of thought into exactly what house she chooses, eg. Odesza, a group that have very deep and contemplative music and beat was very helpful for when you are practising longer poses.
If you are lucky enough to live in London get yourself to her classes as you well see a new side to yourself and your yoga ability and if you have ever wanted to combine the incredible sports of skiing and snowboarding with yoga then you simply must join on the next retreat, it was a life changer.
In the mean time follow her on Instagram @kellybrooksyoga and the Chalet @chaletrosiere