Snow + Yoga = Snowga, but is it Safe?
Photo by Charles Wills
It all started with a hashtag—yogis started tagging their wintery yoga shots on Instagram using #snowga. Since then the trend has taken off with several companies offering outside yoga classes in conjunction with skiing and snowshoeing, and some yoga studios are offering weekly snow yoga sessions. If you have never practiced yoga in the snow you are probably thinking, “is this safe?” and, “is this fun?” or maybe you are still wondering “why?”
A snowga class is not a typical yoga class. You will not be moving barefoot through your vinyasa flow so much as standing in Warrior II with your snow boots and puffy jacket keeping you warm. Snowga is not meant to replace your regular yoga practice, rather it is meant to bring yoga into another space. These classes offer outdoorsy people an opportunity to participate in their favorite winter sports with a little yoga on the side.
Why is snowga good for you?
One benefit of snowga is the playfulness. It is a fun way to get outside and play in the snow. Most snowga classes offer a light take on the practice and remind people to get outside and have fun during winter. Snowga also helps people who do not regularly practice yoga get flexible enough to put on their snowshoes and stay safe during snow sports.
Snowga is a great practice for the mind. The weather and scenery will challenge you to stay focused and the snow will make it difficult to get back up and keep moving if you fall. Practicing outside with the wind and snow is an opportunity to have fun with your practice and work on staying focused and centered even as the elements change all around you.
Why is snowga dangerous?
While snowga is a lot of fun, offers a chance to connect with nature, and brings yoga to people who might not usually practice, there are some risks.
One of the reasons hot yoga became so popular is because the warm climate helps your muscles relax so you can move more freely. Cold weather does the opposite. In the cold your muscles tense and your body becomes more brittle. If you do not treat your body accordingly, you could injure yourself.
When going to a snowga class, dress appropriately. Put on a few layers so that you are warm even while you are out in the snow. Of course, you will not want to wear so many layers that you cannot move, so depending on when and where you are practicing you may still face chilly winds and cold weather during your practice.
The best way to stay safe during a snowga class is to stay mindful. Know your limits and do not push past them. There are times to stretch your physical limits, but snowga class is not one of them. Stay where you know your body can go and be aware that due to the cold weather, you may not be able to go as deep as you can in the yoga studio. Instead, consider thinking about snowga as a practice for your mind and an opportunity to have fun instead of an intense physical practice.
Stay safe and get your bliss on this winter
Snowga can be a lot of fun and it is a great opportunity to try yoga in a new setting, but it is important that you take the necessary precautions to stay safe. You probably won’t be practicing inversions or even plank unless you are ready to fall face-first into the powder. On the flip side, classic poses such as any Warrior or lunge variations become extra fun and increasingly difficult when you are practicing outside in the snow. So if you want to try out one of these snowy classes, put on a few extra layers, be mindful of your body and its limits, and start looking for a snowga class near you!