Yes, we all have heard a million times how great yoga is for you. Those who practice it regularly swear by it. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take on the mindfulness or spiritual sides of a yoga practice to feel its benefits though. You can be anyone doing anything yet you can still practice yoga poses. Whatever your state of mind, the physical yoga poses will do your body good.
Specific yoga poses (asanas) focus on lengthening and releasing pressure in the spine, opening the chest and shoulders, and opening the hips to help re-balance the body.
Benefits of asanas:
-Increases spinal flexibility
-Stretches the chest and abs
-Strengthens the hands, wrists, arms, shoulders and upper back
-Reduces lower back pain
Most people say they don’t have the time or (apparently) do not feel a need to practice yoga. Ironically, these are the exact people who should be doing just that. I’ve never met an active person/athlete without regular aches and pains. And I rarely meet one who can simply reach down and touch their toes without struggling.
When it comes to surfers and yoga, most don’t know where to start. This exciting, adrenaline-rich activity creates its very own set of muscular imbalances and misaligns our posture. The most common imbalances for surfers are lower back compression, tight hips and hamstrings, a closed chest, and locked shoulders leading to pain in the neck and shoulders or causing injuries. But a regular practice can put the body back into balance and prevent those injuries. No need to spend hours practicing – the key is to do it little and often. As little as 15 – 30 min twice to three times a week will make a huge difference in how your body feels and can improve your performance in the water.
Points to remember when starting:
-Be kind to your body. Don’t force anything and listen to what the body tells you.
-If you experience any pain – back off from the stretch and be patient with yourself (although little discomfort and muscle burn are good).
-Remember that the tightness of your muscles comes from years of surfing, so be patient and kind to your body.
-Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) A
-Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutation) B
*Remember, there are variations of stepping instead of jumping the legs back or lowering down to the knees through Ashtanga Namaskara rather than Chaturanga Dandasana.
-Extended Puppy / Melting Heart Pose
-Thread The Needle
-Bound Angle Pose
-Knees to Chest
If the waves are flat, an active rest is always a great idea. During those fat spells smash out an hour or even hour and a half of a dynamic yoga session. There are particular asanas you can do to increase the strength in your core, chest, and arms, and improve your balance. You can also boost your wrists, ankles, forearm, and shoulder strength to help stabilize the board as you pop up. A great practice to accomplish this would be Ashtanga Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, or Power Yoga. If you are a surfer couple try Acro Yoga.
Still not convinced? Above improving your flexibility and building muscle strength, yoga can also prevent cartilage and joint breakdown, improve bone health, increase your blood flow, make you happier, help you focus, relax your system, and give you peace of mind. So what are you waiting for?