EAT, YOGA, SKI, RE­PEAT En­joy the sim­ple rou­tine of a ski­ing yoga re­treat.

In the Moment - - Contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy: Char­lene Lim

Yoga, eat, ski, sleep, re­peat. The sim­ple rou­tine on the slopes

of­fers a chance to re­fresh and re­set, says Char­lene Lim

The crisp fresh air hits us on our drive up the wind­ing moun­tain roads, closer and closer to the snow-capped peaks in front of us. Time feels like it slows down when the moun­tains come into view and na­ture en­velops us. Ev­ery­thing be­comes a won­der­ful idyll... it’s what I call my ‘magic land’.

There is noth­ing quite like be­ing to­tally sur­rounded by na­ture. It seems to hit a re­set but­ton for your mind, body and soul; I think it’s some­thing to do with its stark di er­ence to the ma­jor­ity of our daily lives in busy bustling cities that mir­ror our busy bustling minds. And it’s also some­thing that I, and I’m sure many of us, eas­ily for­get to do. The months roll by, and per­haps you nd that you haven’t had any time o to sim­ply recharge and re­set.

I have a yearn­ing to want to share all my favourites in life, be it places, prac­tices, recipes, books, ex­pe­ri­ences. Out of this my stu­dio, Trika Yoga, was birthed to share yoga; writ­ing came about to share thoughts and prac­tices that have helped me be more mind­ful; and na­ture- lled yoga re­treats were dreamed up to share the beauty and calm I gather from th­ese moun­tains and the great out­doors.

So, where is this place? It is the land of wine, cheese and pâtis­serie, and home to my rst ski­ing yoga re­treat… the wild and beau­ti­ful French Alps.

As the group for the week started ar­riv­ing for their time away from it all, I could al­most see their day-to-day stresses leav­ing their shoul­ders as they un­packed and set­tled in to the sounds of a sim­ple crack­ling re and sight of snow gen­tly fall­ing out­side.

A study by the Univer­sity of Wis­con­sin School of Medicine and Pub­lic Health showed that head­ing out into a nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment al­lows us to fo­cus our minds on some­thing pure and whole­some, which in turn al­lows the body to re­lax I could re­ally see this hap­pen­ing in front of me.

The rou­tine of a ski re­treat is what makes it so spe­cial to me. The views down the val­ley of the Vanoise Na­tional Park are a happy wake up call for the rst 7.30am yoga class. We ease into a prac­tice that pre­pares us for the slopes think heat- and strength­build­ing pos­tures, such as chair and war­rior; pos­tures to lim­ber up and stretch the body, such as down­ward fac­ing dog and low lunge; and breath­ing prac­tices to en­gage our parasym­pa­thetic ner­vous sys­tem to fur­ther pro­mote calm.

Af­ter break­fast, with bel­lies full, bod­ies lim­ber and minds fresh, we gear up for a day out on the pow­der-white slopes, mak­ing sure to in­cor­po­rate some yoga as we ex­plore the moun­tain­side – a pose in front of an in­cred­i­ble view over the val­ley is a must! It brings that happy, care­free, feel-good buzz you get when you’re out­doors, which comes from a stim­u­la­tion of en­dor­phin pro­duc­tion when we ex­er­cise, our brain’s very own ‘feel-good’ neu­ro­trans­mit­ters, low­er­ing stress lev­els and pro­mot­ing a more rounded sense of well­be­ing.

Af­ter all that fresh air and en­dor­phin-boost­ing ski runs, we head back to our ac­com­mo­da­tion to pre­pare for our après-yoga hour it’s the new après-ski! We work on long stretches to ease out our mus­cles from the day; our neck, shoul­ders, sides, legs and back en­joy some well-de­served at­ten­tion af­ter all their hard work, be­fore we set­tle into a sunset savasana as the sun slowly dis­ap­pears be­yond the val­ley in front of us.

Yoga. Eat. Ski. Sleep. Re­peat. Start­ing our prac­tice with the sun and end­ing it with the sun; mak­ing the most of day­light hours in be­tween on the slopes. It feels as if we’re tun­ing our­selves back into na­ture, re­set­ting our nat­u­ral clocks that are so of­ten out of sync thanks to bright lights and mod­ern tech­nol­ogy.

This sim­ple rou­tine also seems to o er more chances to cul­ti­vate mo­ments of mind­ful­ness, qui­etude and time to rest the busy mind.

Shar­ing this sched­ule with oth­ers, too, is in­vig­o­rat­ing. There is some­thing about be­ing to­gether un­der one roof, rising and re­treat­ing at the same time, get­ting to know each other, shar­ing meals and en­joy­ing each other’s com­pany. I was re­minded of a quote I of­ten hear: “Those that yoga to­gether stay to­gether”. I nd it so apt here in this moun­tain set­ting.

By the end of the week we are calm and serene, ready to take what we’ve learnt back to our ev­ery­day lives – al­beit look­ing long­ingly back at those snow-capped peaks as they dis­ap­pear be­hind us.

But you don’t have to spend a week in the French Alps to nd this feel­ing. Think about where you can take your prac­tice to tune in with your own na­ture-in­spired rou­tine.

Try un­furl­ing your mat out­side, en­joy a jog and a long stretch through wood­land, do some yin poses in the park. Find the bird­song, the wind in the trees, the sun on your face. By im­mers­ing your­self in na­ture’s en­vi­ron­ment, wher­ever that might be, you can nd a di er­ent per­spec­tive on day-to-day life and your own time to re­set.

Over the page you’ll nd my favourite poses to help you stretch and strengthen your mus­cles be­fore and af­ter hit­ting the slopes...

Clock­wise from top left: ex­plor­ing the slopes with oth­ers can spark life­long friend­ships; lim­ber up with yoga be­fore head­ing into the snow; Char­lene takes a mo­ment to en­joy her sur­round­ings; re­lax­ing af­ter a day of ski­ing; re­treats give you time to try new poses.

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