Practicing a yoga sequence after shoveling snow can soothe our aching muscles. That’s because shoveling snow – whether it’s the heavy, wet stuff or a lot of light powder – can tweak our backs, make our arms sore and get the heart rate up. The combination of forward bending, lifting and twisting can make us sore and tight, especially if we lead a fairly sedentary life. To relieve some of that tightness, try this yoga sequence after shoveling snow.
Yoga Sequence After Shoveling Snow
You don’t have to be a seasoned yoga practitioner to do this yoga practice after shoveling snow. Make your movements and breath slow and deliberative. Repeat each pose as often as feels right.
If you don’t regularly practice yoga and don’t have a yoga mat, don’t worry. Place a blanket or thick towel under you if you’re on a hard surface.
Loosen up the spine with several rounds of Cat/cow (Bitilasana Marjaryasana).
- Start on your hands and knees.
- As you inhale, allow your belly to drop as you lift your chest and tailbone.
- Exhale as you arch your back like an angry cat, dropping your head down and curling your tailbone under.
- Repeat several times, allowing your breath to lead the movement.
Continue to loosen the spine and relieve tension in your low back with Child’s pose (Balasana).
- From hands and knees, exhale as you bring your hips back toward your heels. Don’t worry if you can’t sit your hips all the way back. Bring your forehead to the mat or on your stacked fists. Take several slow breaths.
- To make this more dynamic, you could alternate between child’s pose and tabletop. Inhale to hands and knees and exhale to child’s pose.
Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog (Adho mukha svanasana) is a great way to loosen the calf muscles in the legs.
- From tabletop, walk your hands a bit away from you, then lift your hips up and push them back, coming off your knees. Step your feet back into Downward Facing Dog.
- Your feet don’t have to reach the floor. Push away from the mat with your hands, lengthening the back. You can pedal your feet to loosen the leg muscles.
Forward Fold (Uttanasana) lengthens the spine and stretches the hamstrings.
- From Downward Facing Dog, walk the feet up to your hands. Keeping the knees as bent as they need to be, allow the upper body to drape over your thighs, like a rag doll. Let gravity do some work as you release tension in the neck.
- You can hold your elbows with opposite hands and move from side to side or gently shake and nod your head.
Supine Simple Twist
Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana II) gently twists the spine to stretch the spinal muscles and gently opens the chest and stretches the neck.
- Lie on your back with your feet on the floor.
- Inhale as you bring your knees toward your chest, and exhale as you set your feet to the right of your hips.
- Allow your knees to drop to the left. If they don’t reach the floor without straining your back, place a block, thick book or pillow under your knees. Or try straightening the knees a bit.
- Extend the arms in line with your shoulders. You can look at your right hand or, if that’s uncomfortable, at the ceiling. Take several breaths.
- Repeat, this time bringing the feet to the left of your hips, dropping the knees to the right, and looking at your left hand.
Legs Up the Wall
Legs up the wall (Viparita Karani) is a great way to release tension in the low back and stretch the hamstrings.
- Sit with one of your hips against a wall. Keeping your hip against the wall, lower your back to the floor and swing your legs up the wall. You may have to wiggle around a bit but you want to be fairly close to the wall.
- Rest in this pose for at least five minutes.
- When you practice this yoga sequence after shoveling snow, you’ll start to loosen up your tight muscles.
Whether you lead an active or sedentary life, you’ll feel sore and tight after you shovel snow. Try this practice as soon after you’re finished, and you’ll start to loosen up your tight muscles before they get too stiff.