Jamie Anderson has been gathering the medals at the Olympics and most recently at the 2020 Aspen X Games. Now, she reflects on her spiritual practices and the benefits of meditation and yoga for snowboarders.

The 29-year-old American snowboarder just claimed first place in the 2020 Aspen X games. And, in an interview for Cosmopolitan, she revealed how she incorporated essential oils, meditation and yoga into her snowboarding training.

“I wasn’t always into [yoga and meditation],” Anderson told Cosmo. “I was a pretty crazy teenager. [At] 17, I had a bad injury and ruptured my spleen… through that, I got more into health and wellness, yoga, acupuncture, and then it all is like my saving grace.”

The 2014 Winter Olympics gold medal winner says she sometimes struggles to meditate. “I know I can’t always sit down and meditate for 30 minutes”. Her solution is to find other ways to be mindful without meditation.

“I try to make my day meditative, moment to moment, staying present,” she says. “Being more mindful and conscious is good for everyone.”

One of the ways in which Anderson boosts her consciousness is through the use of essential oils “[This week I’ve been using] Frankincense on the bottom of my feet to stay grounded. And while I’m meditating, I like putting little scents around me, like rose oil on my neck, lavender before bed.” [READ: Best herbs for meditation]

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Jamie Anderson on yoga for snowboarders

Jamie Anderson’s yoga practice is important for her pre-competition warm-up, she says “[I’ll] do some yoga to stretch out my body and clear out my mind.” She states that some of the best yoga poses for snowboarders are Happy Baby [lying on your back with your feet up, holding the feet with the hands and rocking from side to side], Downward Dog, Cat-Cow, and twists (which are important for warming up the body prior to any tricks). She also states that a headstand is a great way to unwind.

As well as the pure relaxation of yoga, it also offers many other benefits for snowboarders. For starters, it increases mind-body awareness, so you are more aware of your body when you perform. It is also considered one of the best workouts for balance, which of course is essential when landing from a jump.

Speaking to YogaJournal, Anderson said that yoga “gives me that ninja-like edge… I feel strong and flexible so I’m able to land better”.

One rising trend in yoga that will be of interest to boarders is Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga. It’s an incredibly relaxing experience that combines two of the things you love most: yoga and boarding.

Jamie Anderson on Meditation for Snowboarders

Mounting empirical evidence is showing that there are big benefits of both meditation for snowboarders and other athletes. Of course, we al know that meditation helps us to relax. But it goes much further than this—after all, snowboarders have a reputation for being some of the most chill people around anyway.

That said, for competitive snowboarders there definitely is pressure before the event. One way Anderson has used meditation is to help herself relax prior to competition. “”Before a contest, I like to wear my turquoise and howlite mala beads,” she told Elite Daily. “Turquoise is a protective stone, and howlite is a calming stone. They both help ground me before a competition.” [You can learn more about this in my guide to mala meditation beads].

While holding her beads, Anderson performs a cleansing ritual by burning incense. She also uses Golden Milk, an Ayurvedic recipe with milk, turmeric, ginger and other antioxidants. This has been scientifically proven to help eliminate toxins from the body. Not only does this cleanse the body, it also helps relax the mind

Speaking about the advantages of meditation for snowboarders, Anderson says everyone can benefit from it. She states that you don’t have to meditate for a long time. Sometimes she will just meditate for five minutes (although it should be noted that, generally, the longer you meditate the more you will get from it).

Through scientific research we are beginning to understand the benefits of meditation for snowboarders. There are many. For instance, twenty minutes of meditation has been shown to quicken reaction times, which can be vital when you need to make an adjustment mid-competition.

Meditation also improves balance. Research shows that mindful awareness makes us more in-tune with bodily signals, and this awareness can lead to improved balance and coordination.

Then there is the simple fact that meditation puts you mentally in-the [X] game. Research has proven that meditation improves confidence and calmness, so you are able to focus on your performance rather than on any stress or pressure you may be feeling at the top of the course.

Another big benefits of both meditation and yoga for snowboarders is that they both improve recovery. Studies have shown that athletes who meditate and practice yoga recovery faster on average than those who do not.

Put all this together and it is clear to see how meditation and yoga help snowboarders. Even if you’re not a competitive boarder, meditation and yoga will help you to board better and to feel more confident when you do.

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Written by Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.