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