Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sava-asana at 7000 ft

Sanskrit for Hinduism (like Arabic for Islam) is dev-bhasha, the language used by denizens of heaven. Unlike Arabic though Sanskrit is a dying language here on earth. However, there is one silver lining- Sanskrit words are finding wide currency in the west as related to Yoga asanas (postures). Since the denizens of the west are very sincere (and are happy to mix earthy commercialism with spiritual advancement), they will learn all the correct words (and hopefully the proper pronunciation as well). Yay!!!



You could be forgiven for dismissing ski yoga as the latest gimmick for people with more money than sense (and there are certainly plenty of those here).

Holidays that combine skiing and yoga classes are nothing new, but doing yoga on skis takes the concept a step further. The Swiss yoga piste, also known as the chill-out slope, was dreamed up by Sabrina Nussbaum, a local ski instructor and yoga teacher. She noticed that her fellow ski instructors were taking up yoga after suffering knee and back injuries, and thought that everyone could benefit from skiing in a more "yogic" way.

Sabrina has selected four particularly scenic sites at which to do eight asanas (yoga postures). The slope is a red run and the sites themselves are off-piste, so beginners would struggle to reach them, but really the postures can be done anywhere on the mountain. You can pick up a "Yoga on Snow" leaflet at the surrounding ski lifts and follow the routine for free.

We started, appropriately, with a tadasana (mountain pose). I dropped my poles, stood up straight and closed my eyes. Sabrina told me to relax my feet and be aware of the mountain beneath them. It may have been the fresh air and sunshine, or the altitude, but I immediately felt relaxed and happy. After each pose, we skied for a while, applying the principles of the asana to the skiing…..We stopped on top of an easy run to work on prana, or life force. This involved covering my ears and concentrating on my breathing. We skied down with our ears still covered, focusing on breathing calmly – quite difficult when you can't hear other skiers whizzing up behind you.

regards