The first ever cold yoga class was launched this week, taking place in a walk-in fridge – doesn’t sounds particularly inviting but do read on.
Crystal Ski Holidays, the ski and snowboarding specialists, introduced the workout, which takes place at a bone tingling two degrees Celsius, and has been designed to acclimatise sport lovers for a cold winter and to get skiers and boarders limbered up for the season ahead as the mountain calls.
Inspired by the traditional teachings of Bikram yoga, 'ski-ram' swaps swampy, steaming heat for crisp, wintry conditions, similar to those found in the Alps. Yoga lovers – or yogis as they're known - are advised to dress up in snowsuits, scarf and gloves.
The unique 30-minute programme, designed and taught by expert yoga instructor Gaby Flemming, begins with a ‘warm-up-cool-down’ to acclimatise, followed by a series of poses and exercises designed to lengthen and strengthen. The workout finishes with a five-minute ‘cool-down-warm- up’, outside the cold room, to bring yogis back up to room temperature.
Ski-ram yoga instructor Gaby Flemming comments: "There’s something so peaceful about winter and snow, I wanted to use this as the inspiration for ski-ram. The sequence pays particular attention to strengthening and elongating the core and legs; increasing flexibility in the lower body and improving balance. The winter cold conditions mean it's not only a great pre-slope workout, but suitable for all outdoor sport lovers."
Poses and exercises include the Downward Slope, a beginner level pose designed to elongate the spine as well as stretch out calves and hamstrings; Snow Salutations, a fluid cardiovascular movement to improve balance; and the Pepi Penguin, a seated pose to stretch the thighs and groin and increase mobility in the lower body. All exercises have been specially designed to get yoga lovers ready for skiing or snowboarding.
Steve Hunter, a specialist in health and exercise at London South Bank University adds: "Many people will exercise in a cold environment at some point in time. Exercise generates large quantities of excess heat that can warm the body but also reduce exercise level through overheating. When working out in a colder environment excess heat will be removed from the body which means that the individual can control core body temperature more effectively."
A spokesperson at Crystal Ski Holidays comments: "The difference between a good session and a great session on the slopes begins before you even hit the mountains with exercises to improve endurance, strength and stability. At Crystal, we're dedicated to giving all our guests the best possible mountain experience with insider knowledge and expertise whatever your skiing ability. Ski-ram is just one way in which we’re going the extra mile – ensuring that the mountains are full of zen this season."