Yoga provides amazing benefits to its practitioners, and has become an integral part of my life as a surfer. Yoga has the potential to heighten mind-body awareness, calm the mind, build the immune system and nervous system, and rebuild muscle tissue while increasing flexibility, range of motion, and strength. As a surfer, yoga can teach you to increase your breath capacity in big waves. It can improve your balance, hand-eye coordination, and energy levels. As you become more aware of your body through yoga, you become more aware of your surroundings. Your union with the ocean and rhythm with the waves will sharpen.
Through this series of yoga tips for surfing, healthy living, and injury recovery, I will share with you ways to warm up the body, increase your flexibility, increase your core strength, focus the mind, eliminate stress, and feel a generally improved sense of well-being. At least, that’s the goal.
There are a lot of amazing poses and variations that I have learned from my own experiences and teacher training in YogAlign, but we will start with a simple stretch/massage before paddling out. I find that doing a few warm-up sequences (even on the beach) to stimulate the body usually enhances my surf sessions. We want quick muscle response for performance so focus on deep breathing to stimulate blood flow and to bring energy and awareness to the body and mind.
Exercise: Quad Stretch/Foot Massage
Benefits: The stretch should increase your balance, and by deeply massaging a pressure point through the bottom of your foot, you will open up the fascia lines along the entire back side of your body. Something as simple as applying pressure to the bottom of your feet can actually stimulate your entire system.
How to do it:
1. Stand on one leg, and try to stack your bones from the toes, to the ankles, through to the legs and butt.
2. Grab the opposite foot, opening up the quad muscles, and massage deep into the bottom of your foot.
3. If you’re on the beach, focus on the ocean and watch what the waves are doing. Hopefully this will tune you into the rhythm of the sea and help activate your balance.
4. Change sides when you’re ready. Take a few deep breaths, and visualize yourself riding waves and having fun. Hopefully this will calm your mind, and focus your thoughts.
5. Put your leash on and get out there. You are warmed up and good to go…
Get more yoga and health tips from Rochelle at SurfIntoYoga.com, and check back soon for Session Two.