Snowga is exactly what it sounds like: yoga in the snow. At the Four Seasons Megeve, some guests do it to warm up before hitting the ski slopes, while others (like me) do it out of curiosity and intrigue. During my recent trip, I decided to try a private lesson of snowga at the foot of the French Alps, right in front of the hotel.
I first came across snowga in an episode of Gwyneth Paltrow’s The Goop Lab about “Cold Comfort,” which also covered the Wim Hof method (a breathwork practice that involves submerging the body in icy temperatures). Studies have shown that alternating between hot and cold can strengthen the immune system as the body works to regulate itself.
After all, the Scandinavians have their sauna and ice bath rituals, while in Beijing, people swim in icy lakes at the peak of winter to improve their well-being. However, medical professionals are still skeptical about Wim Hof’s extreme methods.
The snowga class
My snowga class, as novel as it sounds, was actually just a yoga class in the snow (on a slippery, snowy slope.) Unlike the episode of The Goop Lab where participants did snowga in their itty-bitty swimsuits, I was (thankfully) dressed for the outdoors.
My private class was with Indian yogi, Sreejith Gopi, who teaches yoga and offers Aryuvedic massages during the summer and winter seasons in Megeve. The spa at Four Seasons Megeve also offers water yoga, Tai Chi and Qigong as part of their wellness programme.
We started with breathing exercises to warm up the body in sub-zero temperatures, followed by several rounds of sun salutations before moving onto balance postures. My core had to work twice as hard to stabilise and it was extremely difficult to hold balancing positions without moving the mat, which felt like a magic carpet slipping beneath my feet.
Snowga was a fun experience that had me all warmed up and sweaty, so I can definitely see the benefits of doing it to get the blood circulating ahead of a full day of skiing. For those who like to ‘do it for the ‘Gram’, Sreejith also prides himself as a good photographer to help people capture poses against the French Alps—and can even tell you which poses photograph best.
After the class, I rounded up my morning by doing laps in the hotel’s indoor and outdoor pool to get into the practice of a hot and cold ritual. Fortunately, the pool is connected to the outdoors by a door and I didn’t have to physically walk in the snow to get to the outdoor pool.
A 60-minute private snowga class is priced at EUR 190 at the Four Seasons Megeve.
Disclaimer: As with everything, if you are unsure or have pre-existing conditions/injuries, it’s best to seek professional medical advice before trying something new.