Exercise: Quarter Moon
Benefits: Quarter Moon stimulates blood flow, strengthens muscles, lengthens the connective tissue, activates your core, and expands your lung capacity – bringing awareness and deeper breathing into the body.
How to do it:
1. Cross over with the same arm, same leg. (See photo) Start with your right hand. Cross your right leg behind the left foot with your thighs still touching.
2. The left hand grips the right hand for a resistance stretch.
3. Keep your front leg bent, and lengthen your back leg to deepen the stretch.
4. Using a technique called PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation), or resistance stretching, inhale through the ribs and squeeze the inner thighs as you lift up on your back toes. Draw the right shoulder down and into the shoulder joint, drawing the shoulder blade down towards the spine. Your resistance can be any where from 5% to 30%.
5. Now exhale, drawing your belly button towards your spine, and release the hold. As you release, push the back heel down to the ground, deepen the side bend, and look down towards your back heel to deepen the stretch.
6. Inhale and squeeze again. Now exhale and release about four times to get the most out of this pose.
7. Switch sides, and repeat the motion. Coordinate your breath with your body movements: inhale as you contract, and exhale as you release and deepen the pose.
Final thoughts: Even Olympic athletes have used PNF for years – particularly in rehabilitation to warm up muscles, stimulate blood flow, and activate quick twitch muscle response. Holding stretches for too long before performance can actually slow down the quick twitch nerves, whereas short stretches and PNF resistance create dynamic movement in the body and mind. Try to incorporate longer holds at the end of the day for restorative yoga.
I experienced this firsthand and noticed a big difference in my surfing. Give it a go and see how you flow.
Get more yoga and health tips from Rochelle at SurfIntoYoga.com, and check back soon for Session Four.