Yogic breathing on a snowboard

baden kniftonLearning to snowboard is… very much like making love to beautiful woman.  OK maybe it’s not and I just slipped into a little bit of Swiss Tony for a minute there, but learning to snowboard IS actually like learning to meditate.

Whenever you find a good teacher, they will learn enough about you to find a way to connect your life and your interests to what they are trying to teach you; so that you have a frame of reference that you already understand and can apply this to the new skill you are trying to acquire.

And so it was when I learned to ride with the AMAZING Baden Knifton at Onyx snowboarding. I was really struggling to find flow when faced with a slope full of Piou Piou snakes and was kicking the back of my board around and heel edge sliding to avoid the little darlings.

Baden came over and said “You’re a yoga ninja, right Jen? Why don’t you try yogic breathing to control your turns?  Inhale, lift up and turn, exhale relax, inhale, lift and turn, exhale relax.”

And so I did, and so it clicked.  Baden had found a way for me to relate moving meditation to what is essentially an adrenaline sport.

Which has led me to explore ways of taking yoga off the mat in all other aspects of my day.

Just missed a bus and need to wait 10 minutes for the next one?  Don’t be frustrated, just be grateful for the opportunity to meditate for ten minutes. I close my eyes, listen to sounds in the distance and then bring my focus closer and closer by. I focus on the present moment, observe my breathing and appreciate the peace (my bus-stop is in the mountains so this is easier for me than many – but I’m sure I could find peace at a bus stop in drizzly London if I tried hard enough).

The more I try to eliminate negativity from my life and to introduce gratitude for every given moment, the more peaceful I become.  It’s not easy, it seems as humans we are programmed to instant frustration when things don’t go exactly as planned, but in my new life when time actually on my yoga mat is scarce, if I can introduce yoga into my life off the mat, then maybe one day I’ll feel like I am practicing 24/7.

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