Balancing the Yang of Snowshoe with the Yin of Yoga

Jan, Day Hiking Ambassador

Snowshoeing is gaining popularity as a winter activity that can increase your fitness level and is a great way to get or stay in shape during the winter months. Since this activity also works the heart muscle, it is considered aerobic and is an excellent form of low impact exercise. There aren’t many other winter activities that give you the ability to burn 420-1000 calories an hour while exerting your inner explorer and having so much fun at the same time.

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So what does this have to do with yin and yang? This principle or law in Chinese philosophy describes opposing forces that can be applied by balancing the opposing types of activities that complement one another, and ultimately create an overall sense of well-being. In the scenario of snowshoeing, the yang is defined as the powerful exertion of force or energy generated in this activity. The context of the yin principle is the side of the balance equation represented through the time taken to savor the achievement of snowshoeing. Yin is accomplished by nourishing the body with restorative actions to soothe or regenerate life. Snowshoeing can place a significant demand on your body and the stepping and climbing action works and shortens your muscles. To prevent injury or soreness to your hardworking muscles, consider balancing your outdoor workout with some muscle lengthening yoga.

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Taking the time for a few quality stretches to lengthen the muscles that powered you through the snow will set you up for a healthy winter season. Stretching postures, or better known in the language of yoga, asana, delivers many complimentary benefits to your snowshoe activity. Not only does it assist your muscles with recovery, but making the time for stretching gives you the opportunity to slow down. Much like a lunch break to refuel your furnace, yoga regenerates your body and spirit, and creates the opportunity for a conscious effort to breathe and to take in the elements of nature.

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Although getting in a full yoga workout with snowshoes may not be practical, consider taking the time for a few targeted asanas at the summit of your snowshoe hike to give your body some much needed balance. I recommend that yoga be incorporated into your snowshoeing pre and post outing, to keep the muscles healthy and as prevention against injury. Classes targeted at yoga loving snowshoers and snowshoeing loving yogis are becoming popular because this combination strikes a perfect physical and mental balance.

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If you haven’t tried this combination, I hope you will and if it is something you already practice – well done! I encourage readers to share their experience with Tubbs Snowshoes on their Facebook page or Instagram page @tubbsnowshoes or with me directly via Instagram @colorado_mtn_girl. Namaste’ snowshoe lovers!