If you take a second to think about the amazing array of emotions that surfing invokes and compare it to the feelings you get from a wonderful yoga practice, surfing and yoga are not so different. For a whole manner of extreme sports, yoga compliments the gestures and flow perfectly. Helping access a new level of training through the study of strengthening body and soul, breathing and mindfulness. You don’t have to adopt the yogic lifestyle (although of course, it helps, you are already halfway to full hippie) but adapting your life to a higher sense of understanding of the way your body moves and how to breathe life into your active pursuits will benefit your surfing.
Now there isn't a surfer out there that doesn't LOVE that amazing feeling of fulfilment after a surfing session. That satisfying muscle ache that you can only get after a wonderful full body workout BUT it also comes accompanied by stiff hips, leg strain and locked shoulders. Imagine if you could teach your muscles to recover faster and to ease any discomfort with an awesome yoga practice. The outward body benefits are these but imagien the wander a yoga practice would do for your mind. When concentrating on your breathing and the movement, you have time to reflect on your surf session which can only help you grow into a better rider.
So here are a few poses that will add to your practice and help you find your inner surf legend. The poses are best done in a Vinyasa flow session, adding in these poses between sun salutations, once you are stretched out. Inhale, smile and enjoy.
Chaturanga Dandasana, The 4 Limbed Staff
This pose is essentially the “plank”. However, it isn’t as simple as heading straight into a press-up position. The Chaturanga requires concentration and determination. However, no one should hesitate to admit that until you have practised a few times, this pose is hard. That’s why there are many lovely variations like bringing the knees to the floor. Either way, from your downward dog, bring your weight, flat to the mat, lowering your pelvis, then either drop your knees and raise your ankles or plant your toes and engage your abdomen for the ultimate stretch. Make sure your elbows are at right angles to the body and your bottom is in line with your back, parallel to the ground. Breathe life into your muscles, focus on holding the pose for between 3 and 5 breaths, trying to focus on the breathing, and imagine the exhale heading to all the areas of the body that feel the pressure of the pose.
Next up we have Malasana pose or the lower squat
This is such a wonderful pose, it has a way of making you feel totally empowered. This feeling comes from the fact that your feet make a strong connection with the ground, providing you with real roots. The Malasana is hip opening wander of a pose, perfect for after a long surf session. Stretching your hips, where you may feel weak, giving you strength once more. Go from a standing pose or tabletop position. Plant the soles of your feet, shoulder width apart and lower your hips as close to the ground as you can, the more you practice, the lower you will get. Feel free to pop a block between your feet for extra support. Bring your arms in front of your knees and join your palms into prayer pose. Match this with a few deep inhales through the nose and out of the mouth. If you want to take the pose to the next level, lift your heels off the ground and for a breathe.
Utkata Konasana- Goddess Pose
Another wonderfully empowering pose, one that makes you feel like the strongest and most balanced person in the world. Sometimes we need to feel like this, supported by your session. This pose is another great one for the hips and also for the shoulders. After a few hours of paddling for every perfect wave, your shoulders will feel tense. This is a great transition pose from the warrior. Once your feet are firmly planted and rooted in the ground, lower your hips as much as you can to create a square shape with your thighs and lower legs. Take long extended breaths to elongate the abdomen. Bring the arms up to the sky and then back to the heart. Breathe and be sure to smile! To take this pose to the next level, raise your heels and pulse in the this movement. Imagine a force pushing your knees back as well. This movement will give your a real sense of strength.
Navasana, boat pose
The boat pose is a great position to focus on the core. Spending some time every now and again, focusing on the core is really beneficial, helping you improve your balance and release tense muscles, injecting a burst of vitality. The boat pose is a simple one with a few variations that can kick up the intensity. Raise your legs with your toes turned up to the sky bring your arms to the sides as well. Hold this positions for 3 breaths, again smile and allow the positive energy to flow.
Lastly, We Have Balasana, The Happy Baby Pose
This is such a happy and cheerful pose. One that fills your body full of life and a sense of well being. After an awesome surf session, taking that time on the mat to continue the good vibes is a great combination. Particularly with the happy baby pose. Lie on your back with your knees as flat to your chest as you can comfortably get them. Start by rocking back and forth a few times, this will help massage your back, it will feel amazing. Then grab your feet, on the inside or outside of the soles. If you can’t quite make that, not to worry, simply hold onto your ankles instead or wherever you can reach. Rocking and moving in the pose is great, there is no need to stay cemented in the position. Moving and breathing will give the pose life!
There you have just a few poses to help compliment your surfing. Making you feel limber, strong and empowered. Nothing can quite replace going to do a yoga practice with an instructor, so if you have the time, pop by a local class. Hope you enjoy these poses and that they help unlock a new element to your training.
Until next time. . . .