Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach Sian Leigh takes time to share 4 tips you can implement for free to improve your health and make the most your of life in the mountains everyday. Sian moved to Verbier in 2015, “just for one season” with her family, but still hasn’t managed to leave. She has clients all over the globe and is a Yoga instructor at Wholeycow, as well as on YouTube…

Even if your body is lithe from a season skiing, the dry scaly winter skin definitely doesn’t inspire confidence. Don’t worry though, I’m here to keep you informed on how to make the best of what you’ve got with 4 essential tips:


  1. Drink more water – Ok, I’m not re-inventing the wheel with any of my tips, particularly when I tell you to drink more water. Try to get a litre in before breakfast. Because we lose around 250ml while we sleep, we need to top ourselves up as soon as we can. Now, I’m going to complicate things – don’t drink with your meals, give yourself half an hour on either side. It’s basic chemistry: the pH of our stomach acid which breaks down food is around 3 and the pH of water is around 7, so I’ll leave it to you to work out what happens when you drink water while you eat. The good news is there is one liquid that has a PH similar to our stomach acid. YES, Vino! Just don't drink alcohol on an empty stomach if you want to keep your gut lining intact.

  1. Breathe - When we are feeling anxious and we shallow breathe, our fight or flight system is activated. Our body thinks we are being chased by a bear and so it steals the blood from our digestive system and it sends all of the blood from around the body to places it deems necessary for immediate survival. Our heart rate increases, our vision narrows, our muscles become tense, we start sweating, our hearing becomes more sensitive. Is the body thinking ‘I’d better leave that blood supply with the digestive system because I may stop for a feed while I’m being chased by the bear?’. Hell no. So when we aren’t breathing properly, we aren’t digesting food and we aren’t getting nutrients. As a mother, I am frequently in a bit of a fluff by the time I sit to eat (at least I sit these days). So, my gift to you is this little trick. Take yourself off somewhere quiet, take 3 deep breaths all the way to your belly. This will switch off your Sympathetic Nervous System, and switch on your Parasympathetic.


  1. Eat more whole foods and vegetables - Now this seems like a no brainer, right? My clients (and family) get sick of me harping on about this: “half your plate should be green at every meal” is my mantra. Whole foods contain thousands of Phytonutrients (chemicals which protect the plant from germs, fungi, bugs and other threats). So when we eat them, we are building a protective shield to protect us from the very same beasts. So start small, introduce a salad at every meal and make your plate look as colourful as possible – the more colour, the greater the variety of phytonutrients you are absorbing into your cells. And best of all, this will show on the outside: you can dramatically slow the signs of ageing by changing to a whole food diet.

  1. Sleep

We spend the first quarter of our lives not having any respect for the main thing we spend the next 75% trying to get enough of. Sleep. When we sleep our growth hormones kick in, so even if you’ve stopped growing upwards, you’ll be healing your tired muscles and any injuries when you sleep. Sleep also regulates your hunger hormones: how quickly do you reach for sugary snacks when you are tired? Not only is your body craving a quick energy shot, but because your hunger hormones are out of whack, you don’t know when you are hungry or whether you just need to lie down and rest. Again, I’m not going to tell you anything you don't know, but don't take screens into your bedroom, keep a regular sleep rhythm (don't sleep in on the weekends), and keep the bedroom only for sleep and sex. In equal amounts, preferably.


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Jo Chandler from Wholeycow suggests some yoga poses to get you ready for a hard day up on the mountain…


Prepare yourself for the slopes with these yoga poses, selected to enhance strength and balance in your legs. We use the wall in these poses to create resistance and enhance stability. You can build up to hold these poses for 1 minute and make sure you repeat on both sides.


  • Chair Pose against wall: Utkatasana

Place legs at a right angle with your feet directly underneath your knees. Press your heels into the ground and reach up through the fingertips as you draw your belly button back to the spine.


  • Warrior 1: Virabhadrasana I

Place a block (or something solid…like a soup tin) between your knee and the wall. Press the front knee against the block at the same time as you engage the back leg by pressing into the inner heel.


  • Warrior 2: Virabhadrasana II

Place your block between the knee and the wall, the front leg is at a right angle. Reach through the back arm as you press your front knee toward the wall. Press into your front heel to feel your glutes switch on.


  • Warrior 3: Virabhadrasana III

Hands and raised leg are at hip level. Keep arms straight, as you firmly push the hands against the wall and press back into the raised heel at the same time. For a challenge, try again without the wall.


  • Horse Pose:

Place turned out feet under knees, and slowly lift your heels. Draw your belly button up and inwards, slightly rounding your lower back.