We’re all living some frustrating and testing times at the moment, as surfers this lockdown has taken away our playground and sanctuary, yet, one thing that has helped me personally is to implement a daily Yoga practise every morning before I start my day. It has energized me and kept my mind clear and more importantly it’s keeping my body strong and flexible for the waves to come!
With this in mind, we decided to reach out to our head Yoga instructor, Elise, who has kindly shared some words of wisdom and a simple Yoga sequence, which is accessible to all and will help you specifically with your surfing. So here is what she had to say:
Yoga and surfing are not just physical practises but often a whole lifestyle with connection to nature at its heart and values like the respect of nature and other living beings, discipline, dedication, patience…
Why keep practising out of the water?
Yoga helps with:
- Maintaining or building a more capable body, increasing mobility, flexibility and strength;
- Improving awareness of the body (enhanced proprioception + awareness of abilities, limits and general sensations);
- Expanding the breath, linking it with movement, exploring breath retention and therefore training body and mind for the experience of holding the breath;
- Learning how to quiet the mind;
- Get into a flow state where everything just comes together naturally.
All of this to be able to:
- Paddle more efficiently: strongly, safely for shoulders and back, and in coordination with the breath;
- Pop up better and faster;
- Have better mobility of the spine, hips, ankles, shoulders…basically everything for powerful manœuvres;
- Be able to endure longer underwater if necessary, physically as well as mentally;
- Keep the mind focused;
- Appreciate every minute of your first post-quarantine surf!
Cat/Cow – Marjaryasana/Bitilasana
Start on your hands and knees, knees under the hip and wrists under the shoulders. Separate your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width, fingers spread on the mat and facing forward. Knees and feet are hip-width apart with the toes pointing back.
As you inhale, lift your chest and draw the abdomen towards the floor, bringing the spine to a slight backbend.
Encourage your shoulders down by broadening the space between the shoulder blades.
Bring your gaze up, keeping the neck long.
As you exhale, push the floor away and round your back upwards, lifting the low belly and lengthening your tailbone down. Release your head.
Continue at your own pace for 5 breaths.
Puppy pose – Uttana Shishosana
From the tabletop position, walk your hands forward and gently bring the forehead on the floor. You can place a bloc or a book under the forehead if the floor is not accessible.
Press the palms of the hands down to keep the hips up and above the knees.
Hold the posture 3 to 5 breaths and slowly walk your hands back to come out.
Cobra pose – Bhujaungasana
Lay down on your belly, bring the forehead on the ground, and place your hands under your shoulders. Fingers are spread and facing forward. Bring the legs together and the heels to touch. Draw the shoulders back and down, keeping the elbows close to the ribcage.
Press the top of the feet on the floor, engage the legs while lengthening the tailbone towards the heels.
As you inhale, engage your back muscles to lift the head and maybe the chest off the floor. Keep the elbows pointing back and the shoulders down. Allow the breath to expand through the chest.
To protect your lower back, engage your core by drawing the pubic bone towards the navel.
Bring your gaze up to the sky.
Hold the posture 3 to 5 breaths and release the body down.
Variation: Locust pose – Shalabasana
Lay down on the belly, forehead down, arms forward and legs slightly apart.
As you inhale, lift the arms, the head, the chest and the legs. Keep expanding the breath through the chest as you press the pubis down. Engage your core to protect the lower back.
Ideally, bring the legs together and the heels to touch.
Hold the posture 3 to 5 breaths and release the body down.
Lunge – Anjaneyasana
Come onto your hands and knees again and bring your right foot in between your hands, fingers and toes aligned. Shuffle back your left knee until you start to feel the tension on the front of your left hip or thigh.
You can keep your hands down, resting on the fingertips or lift the chest and bring the hands on your knee.
As you roll the shoulders back, allow the chest to lift and expand. As you exhale release the hips towards the floor.
Variation: Twisted lunge – Parivrtta Anjaneyasana
Root your left hand on the floor (or on a prop) and press to open the chest to the right, coming into a twist. If it’s available, extend the right arm up and gaze towards the hand. Otherwise, bring your right hand on your lower back.
Hold 3 to 5 breaths on each side.
Happy baby – Ananda Balasana
Lie down on your back and bring your knees to your chest, soles of the feet facing up. Reach in between your legs with your arms and grab the outer edges of your feet.
As you exhale, use the weight of your arms to guide your knees towards your armpits.
Keep the spine long by bringing the chin slightly towards the chest and if possible maintaining the lower back on the floor.
If the feet do not go up, an option is to keep them closer to the bum, holding the big toes with your second and third fingers.
Hold 3 to 5 breaths and release the feet down.
After practising, take 5 to 10 minutes to relax. Lie down on your back, legs apart, arms away from the body and palms of the hands facing up.
Quiet the breath, allow the body to relax completely, from the tip of the toes to the top of the head.
We hope this quick sequence will help strengthen your body and mind and keep you focused on doing as much as you can out of the water to improve and boost your performance in the water! What we are currently experiencing is unprecedented and tough but we all have the ability to turn this situation around and make the most of the tools we have at our disposal to continue our surfing skill progression.
Keep healthy, stay home and try out this Yoga sequence!
For more yoga goodness, follow @justyogawithelise on Instagram.