The Perfect Vacation – Yoga and Skiing

I consider myself an athlete and I’m always up for a good adventure.  So when a yoga teacher friend of mine was hosting an adventure yoga and skiing retreat in Jackson Hole, WY, I couldn’t turn it down.  I’ve been skiing for 35 years and it’s been 26 years since I had skied Jackson Hole, so the anticipation for this trip was high.

Leading up to the trip, the forecast was for snow, lots of it, every day.  I couldn’t believe I was going to be that lucky, especially as I sit here in California, contemplating mountain bike trips over ski trips as we suffer one of the worst droughts in history.

IMG_0788Day 1 of the retreat, I skipped the morning yoga so that I could cross off a bucket list item – skiing the backcountry in the Grand Tetons.  WOW! What an experience. You earn your turns in the backcountry, and every one of mine was fresh, untracked powder.  After a 7-hour day and 3,000 vertical feet, I wanted to collapse. Exhaustion was an understatement. But instead of hitting the hot tub, I went straight to the eve

ning Yin Yoga class.  Sometimes it takes a retreat like this to remind me how beneficial AND enjoyable a Yin Yoga class is after an exhausting day, or a tough workout.   And it also reminded me that I have Yin Yoga at my fingertips, every day, with MyYogaWorks.  So I set a new intention during that class, to commit to practicing Yin Yoga (I happen to love David Kim’s Yin Yoga for Athletes) three times a week – no excuses, I can find 20-30 minutes in the evening to commit to a yin class.

yoga retreat-yoga

Day 2 started with yoga, a Vinyasa class to wake us up and get the blood flowing before an awesome day on the mountain.  Every morning, we woke up to over 10” of fresh snow, so the adrenaline was pumping to get on the mountain – and of course, it was another EPIC day of fresh powder turns and never skiing a groomed run.  By 5pm, my fatigued legs could barely get me back to my room.   But I hurried to change my clothes in anticipation of the 5:15 Yin Yoga class, which, once again, was exactly what my body needed.

Day 3 my body was struggling. I was tired and sore and I had another big day on the mountain in front of me.   We started the morning with 1 hour of Vinyasa and then, like a repeat of the day before, we headed out for another AMAZING day on the mountain which ended with another AMAZING Yin Yoga class.

Shelly Skiing

Somehow, during this trip, I managed to avoid the Jacuzzi, which is an essential part of the après-ski experience. But with all the yoga, I didn’t need it.   I was able to socialize with my fellow yoga retreaters during class and my body was able to recover through movement (instead of soaking in hot water).

It was disappointing to leave Jackson Hole on Sunday morning after 19” of fresh snow fell overnight.  I contemplated changing flights, but other commitments waited for me at home – like my job.  But this retreat gave me renewed energy for my yoga practice and reminded me that yoga takes all forms, it doesn’t have to be an intense workout if I don’t want it to be, and it’s often more beneficial, if yoga isn’t that for me.  This trip also reminded me about setting intentions, not unachievable goals, just intentions for my day. And lastly, this trip reminded me why I love yoga retreats – because I always end up with new experiences, new perspectives and most importantly, new friends!

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