“Resistance is the creator of all great things.”
Your core region is as important to your snowshoeing as is the foundation to your home.
Previous columns have highlighted various ways to strengthen your abdomen, pelvic girdle, back muscles, and so forth. Pilates is another mode to consider if you desire to toughen your powerhouse region and truly enjoy our sport.
Pilates is a system of resistance training that engages your mind and body in a balanced mix of strength and flexibility. Pilates works the entire body with a particular effort on strengthening and stabilizing your core region. Specific exercises are choreographed to produce strength, suppleness, and alignment through smooth, continuous motion and resistance.
These are crucial elements to the snowshoer. Remember this when your hip flexion is nonexistent, your psoas muscles are burning, your lower back shoots daggers, and your abs cramp….
German-born Joseph H. Pilates (1880-1967) began studying anatomy and exercise at age 14 to improve his health. He suffered from rickets, asthma, and rheumatic fever as a child. He became an accomplished boxer, diver, gymnast, and skier. Pilates implemented his knowledge during World War I to rehabilitate bedridden patients using bedsprings as a form of resistance training. He also developed floor exercises for those able to impart weight-bearing resistance.
“Think with the whole body.”
Yoga provides the snowshoer extensibility. This is a cursory look at the benefits of massage in an effort to acquaint you with a few prevalent methods for achieving wellness and sport performance.
The time and place that massage originated precisely is subject to interpretation. Some scholars believe that cave paintings discovered in the Pyrenean Mountain Range date its usage some 15,000 years. Others counter that massage originated in India as part of a spiritual-based form of medicine as recorded by the Ayur-Veda-the earliest known medical text [1800 BC]. Ayur-Veda means “the arts of life.”
The Ayur-Veda documents that “touch medicine” evolved with Sangha and Buddhism, and was later coded as part of the Buddhist Scriptures – giving rise to monk-healers, monastic universities and training programs. The preservation of Ayurvedic medicine is credited to the ascetic Buddhist lineage.
Touch medicine and its religious integration spread throughout Asia and was enhanced by each culture. Taoist priests documented and implemented its “QI Gong” meditative healing movement about 3,000 B.C. Traditional Chinese medicine is based on cultivating the vital life force from within to heal any imbalances.
“If you are true to your practice, complexity will dissolve.’
–Venerable Khandro Rinpoche
Snowshoeing and yoga have a deep-rooted history. Both have been in existence for thousands of years. Both are among the fastest-growing pursuits. We know the ever-increasing prominence of snowshoeing. It is estimated that 18 million people practice some form of yoga in the United States. Both require discipline and commitment. Obviously neither endeavor is a fad.
Yoga is the union between mind and body. It is a systematic approach toward mindfulness and equanimity through postures [asanas] and breathing techniques [pranayama]. It is the embodiment of spiritual, physical, and social growth. It is not religion although its origin in India was a spiritual path.
The Sanskrit, the ancient religious text and language of the Vedas and Hinduism, birthed the definition of yoga to essentially mean a union or fusion of the body and mind, of science and art, a “well-formed, refined, perfect or polished” method of discipline.
The philosophical and metaphysical impulse of yoga is dated about 5,000 years ago. The first written collection is credited to Indian sage Patanjali about 2,000 years ago. His Yoga Sutra is a treatise on yogic philosophy and provides the foundation upon which yoga is based today. The collection of 195 statements is considered the backbone of weaving human challenges with the universal truths of self-development.
“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”
Snowshoeing is often as strenuous as it is rewarding. Our sport is an integral part of advanced levels of fitness and vibrant health.
Mother Nature’s challenges are both invigorating and fraught with invaluable lessons applicable to daily life. The law of diminishing returns is one such lesson. It is human nature to test one’s snowshoeing limits without regard for its consequences. We begin to learn (or at least feel) the limits of our physical prowess during maturation.
Recovery has never been more important.