YOGA FOR SURFERS
Surfing requires skill & strength. Healthy lungs, a supple body and balance are key elements. Lots of energy is needed to get out to the waves and then the maneuvering techniques begin!. Being flexible in the water and on the board helps to maintain those exhilarating rides and keeps you focussed on the journey. Yoga teaches us to breathe fully and deeply which increases our lung capacity. This is a great asset when we find ourselves pummeling to the oceans depths.
Before you hit the surf stretch to avoid wear & tear to the body. More and more surfers are taking the time to warm up before the plunge. A few stretches will keep you more fluid in the water and your ability to focus will improve which means better performance!
As we get older, our bodies can become less flexible. If your muscles are stiff, sudden irregular movements can cause soft tissue tears and throw backs out. This can be very painful and dangerous, especially if it happens in the water!
The following Yoga stretches will warm up your whole body, soften your spine, strengthen and stretch your shoulders and arms and develop deep full breathing. So give some life back to those paddling muscles and get into the healthy habit of regular 'surf stretches'.
Take a deep full breath, relax and may your next ride be as fluid as your dolphin friends
Step 1 Exhale and turn your head to the right. Inhale and turn your head back to the centre. Exhale turn the head to the left. Inhale back to the centre. Practice a few times.
Step 2 Now exhale and drop the head back. Inhale and bring it up to the centre. Exhale and drop the head forward. Inhale back up to the centre. Practice a few times.
Step 3 Step a few feet apart. Using your arms swing your torso from side to side
You'll be feeling a little looser in the neck now so we'll start loosening up the shoulders and back muscles..ahh!!!
Step 4 Turn your toes inward slightly. Lock your knees and pull your thigh muscles upward. Interlock your fingers behind your back. Exhale and slowly release your arms over your head and down toward the sand. You'll feel a strong stretch into the shoulders and arms. Breath deeply through the nose, releasing into the stretch with each exhalation. Inhale to come up.
Now for a sequence of postures that will warm you up quickly. Heat circulating through your body opens tight muscles and helps to remove waste products. Move through the sequence with the breath:
Step 5 This starting position gets us in touch with our breathing and corrects bad posture. Stand straight with the feet together and arms down by your side. Roll your shoulders back to open the chest. Close your eyes and breathe deep slow breaths through the nose and feel your whole body extending upwards.
Step 6 .INHALE and raise the arms up bringing the palms together above the head to Stretch out the whole sides of the torso and lengthen your spine...
Step 7 .EXHALE and release forward and down bringing the hands to the sand. Feel the opening in your legs!.
Step 8.INHALE and look up, keeping the fingertips on the sand. Feel the back lengthening...
Step 9 .EXHALE and step or lightly jump the feet back and come down into a plank position, try to keep the body off the ground, the elbows in and buttocks squeezing
Step 10 .INHALE and roll over on to the tops of your feet as you move up through your shoulders and open the chest. Roll your shoulders back, drop the head back and look up. This posture will improve your breathing.
Step 11 .EXHALE and lift the hips, pelvis and buttocks up and back. Bring the heels to the floor. Drop the chest through the shoulders. Have your feet hip width apart and your fingers spread wide. Lock the legs and soften your head neck and shoulders. Hold this position for 5 deep, full breaths.
Step 12 .INHALE and step or lightly jump the feet to the hands and look up.
Step 13 .EXHALE and release the forehead into the knees.
Step 14 .INHALE and keeping the legs locked raise your arms and come up bringing the palms together above the head...
Step 15 .EXHALE and release the arms down by the side and return to starting position.
Practice this sequence a few times to warm up the whole body. Now for some postures to stretch into and soften those tight hips:
Step 16 Sit down and bring the soles of the feet together. Interlock your fingers around the toes and place the elbows into the knees. Keep your back straight and shoulders rolled back to open the chest. Breathe into the hip opening for a few breaths.
Step 17 Next place your right leg out in front of you. Bring the left foot to rest onto the right knee and the left knee to rest above the right foot. Hanging forward, exhale and work the left knee down to stretch open the left hip muscles. Hod for a few breaths and do other side.
Step 18 Now for a spinal twist. Sit in an easy cross-legged position. With your back straight place your left hand onto your right knee and your right hand behind you on the ground. Inhale and lift out of your waist, exhale to twist and look over your right shoulder. Inhale and lift out of the waist again and exhale to twist a little deeper into the spine. Exhale to the centre and twist to the other side.
Step 19 Raise your right hand up straight. Bend your right elbow and place the hand down your back. With your left hand gently push the right elbow downwards to release deeper into the stretch. Stay focussed on deep full breathing through the nose and stretching deeper into the shoulder joint with the exhalation. Hold for a few breaths then repeat with the left arm.
Feeling good and ready to get wet, lets just finish off in a relaxing position expanding our lung capacity:
Step 20 Sitting up straight in a comfortable cross- legged position, place the back of your hands onto the knees. Relax your shoulders down and back to open your chest and softly close your eyes. Breathe fully and deeply through your nose. Focus on the sound of the ocean and the expanding and contracting of your chest as you breathe in and out. Breathe 5 deep full conscious breaths, filling your lungs with fresh sea air
Regular stretching will increase your flexibility and give you more energy..... happy surfing!