Après Asana yoga practice at Vail Vitality Center set for Sunday, March 20 | VailDaily.com

Après Asana yoga practice at Vail Vitality Center set for Sunday, March 20

Daily staff report
Kristen Cooper's Après Asana yoga practice on Sunday, March 20, will target the muscles that work hard while you ski or snowboard.
Tanya Dueri | Special to the Daily |

If you go …

What: Après Asana with Kirsten Cooper.

When: 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 20.

Where: The Vail Vitality Center, 352 E. Meadow Drive, No. 3, Vail.

Cost: $20 early bird; $25 day of (if spots remain).

More information: Visit http://www.vailvitalitycenter.com, or call 970-476-7960.

VAIL — Former ski racer and current Ski & Snowboard Club Vail coach Kirsten Cooper will lead Apres Asana at the Vail Vitality Center from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

In this workshop, you will target the muscles that work hard while you schuss. Learn to simultaneously stretch and strengthen your hamstrings, quads, glutes, hip rotators and core in order to stay healthy for spring on the slopes. From the top of your head to the tips of your toes, skiing and snowboarding require a great deal of strength and coordination.

“We often think of ‘ski conditioning yoga’ as chair pose and strengthening the legs, but the importance of proper body mechanics (i.e., balanced strength and flexibility) is absolutely imperative to stay fit for skiing and avoid injuries,” Cooper said.

Apres Asana will focus on ways to be strong and flexible in all the places that snowsports demand, Cooper said.

“It will also target those major muscle groups and joints that get so tight and sore in the ski season by allowing for longer, more restorative holds,” she said. “This allows for more opening in the muscles themselves and, in turn, more space in the joints they control, resulting in less soreness and fewer aches after a day on the hill.”

The second half of the practice will be more restorative, targeting similar muscle groups but especially geared toward unwinding tension in all of the muscles that create the low-back pain so often associated with skiing and snowboarding, Cooper said.

‘A Safe Place’

Cooper spent the better part of her life competing as a professional alpine ski racer. She was 10 when she first practiced yoga as part of conditioning for skiing, but it wasn’t until age 16 that yoga became a staple in her conditioning program.

“I suffered from shoulder, back and knee injuries at the time, and yoga not only helped my body feel so much better but also helped me quell the intense stress of being an elite athlete,” she said. “Competition is extraordinarily stressful on the body and mind; yoga became a place where I didn’t have to be better than everyone around me. It became, and remains, a place where I can be in uncomfortable positions in a safe space so when I find discomfort in my life, I have a few more tools to handle it.”

Athletics are all about pushing past your comfort zone, and yoga provided Cooper with the best possible tools to live constantly beyond where she felt comfortable.

She believes that by spending time to breathe deeply and move with intention, yoga can help anyone create an internal shift through which rejuvenation and further self-inquiry arise.

After navigating the world for ski racing then getting a bachelor’s of science degree in integrative physiology, Cooper is now pursuing a master’s degree in sports psychology while coaching ski racing and playing in the mountains she loves so much.

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