Words by Shaini Verdon at Yogaion Photos: Elizabeth Montalbano
Before hitting the water most of us like doing some stretches on the beach heating up the muscles. All though this is a great way to start and a good time to check the waves, it’s even better if you do the right poses that reach exactly those areas that are needed for your surf. This short yoga sequence will not only improve your surfing, but will also aid with the mental focus needed in the waves.
1.Paschimma baddhanguliyasana (hands clasped behind back)
This is a great first pose, as not only does it open the shoulder joints and chest area, it also opens up the space of the heart. As this area tends to close off especially when the waves are a bit bigger or the line up busier then expected in which feelings of doubt can arise. Your shoulders change from being relaxed to a state of ending up by your ears & subconsciously you close your chest and heart area. This pose is amazing to counteract this!
Benefits: Shoulder joint & chest opening; create space for the heart & diaphragm. Relieves negative feelings.
How: To do this pose stand firmly with feet hip width apart and clasp your hands behind your back straightening your arms (when the shoulders are very tight, try to straighten them as much as possible without overstraining) now roll your shoulders back and down away from your ears and create maximum lift from your chest to your chin, creating a strong opening upwards in the chest and heart area. Change sides by releasing the clasp of the fingers and changing the interlock the fingers.
2. Ardha Padmasana Utkatasana (half squatted lotus)
If you want to surf well & pain free you need to keep your hips joints mobile. Even your take off needs open hips, as this allows you to do them fast and at ease. There are many hip openers, but this pose is especially great as it is also teaches you how to keep balance.
Benefits: outer hip mobility & balance
How: Start with bringing weight onto your left foot, and slowly rising the right foot. Place the flexed right foot above your left knee while simultaneously bending your left leg. Your hands can hold on to your foot and knee, this will give you balance, but also some push so that you can lengthen the torso away from the legs. Change sides.
3.Parvatasana Anjaneyasana (upward bound fingers in low lunge)
Sitting a lot (on your surfboard) can cause your hip flexors to tighten. These muscles allow you to lift your knees and bend at the waist. Which are 2 essential movements for your surf. This low lunge opens the hip flexors tremendously. The adding of the arms is not only great to tone them but also trains the mind to move the legs and arms separately from each other.
Benefits: opens hip flexors, quadriceps & groin. Gives mental focus. Opens chest and keeps wrists & fore arms toned.
How: From a standing position step your left leg back, bend your right knee (make sure that at all times your knee and ankle are above each other) and place your hands on the floor on either side of your right foot. Slide your left leg back and have the top of the foot on the floor. Once you are stable in your low lunge, clasp the hands in front of you with complete straight arms. Turn your hands inside out and bring the arms overhead. It is more important to keep the arms straight than to bring them overhead.
4.Parvritti Anjaneyasana (twisting lunge)
When it comes to turns and maneuvers that are more advanced on your surfboard, you need a strong but flexible back and spine. Twists are a great aid to improve your turns. Giving more rotation and freedom in your torso. They also give an instant energy lift! Adding it into this low lunge will help to improve your balance.
Benefits: Opens torso, chest, shoulders & arms. Stretches the hips. Energy lift. Balance.
How: from the previous pose, parvatasana anjaneyasana, release the arms down and place the hands together in prayer pose. Lengthen the spine and twist to your right, hooking the right elbow behind the left knee.
5. Baddha Konasana (bound angle)
For your last pose sit comfortably on the beach, having one more wave check before surfing. This pose creates flexibility in your inner thighs, groins and knees and also gives calmness to the mind. So you can have a nice fun & relaxed surf, enjoying it to the max!
Benefits: Improves inner thighs, groin & knee flexibility. Calms the mind & emotions. Alleviates fatigue.
How: Sit with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your knees, pull your heels toward your pelvis, then drop your knees out to the sides and press the soles of your feet together. Catching the feet with your hands, widen the inner thighs until the knees reach towards the floor on both sides. If your knees don’t release to the floor, then create a height with sand. Your sand pillow should be so high that when sitting on it your knees comfortably release towards the floor.
Enjoy your Surf! ☺
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